Most people might see food as mere fuel for our bodies to keep us up and running throughout the day. That’s only partly true! While we do get our energy from the food we eat, we get more than just that. When we consume nutrient-dense foods, our bodies absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals necessary to help the mind, organs, and cells function excellently.
Though vitamins and nutrients are tiny, they play an incredible role in keeping us healthy and alive! Moreover, our food contains other components that aren’t only used for fuel. These minuscule components allow us to process the food and nutrients we take in. And you may be surprised to know that multivitamins from brands like Thorne Research at Supplement First can’t completely replace the functions food performs!
So, this may beg you to question – How do our bodies absorb the nutrients we eat? Read on to find out!
How Our Bodies Absorb Vitamins and Nutrients
Our bodies absorb two kinds of nutrients:
- Macronutrients – These are your carbs, fats, and proteins, which are what we use as direct duel or energy sources.
- Micronutrients – These are vitamins and minerals, which indirectly influencer your body’s available energy by releasing macronutrients. However, they do not perform well if your body doesn’t absorb them efficiently.
Nutrient absorption begins with digestion. After you chewed and swallowed your food, it will be broken down by enzymes in the saliva, traveling to your stomach. From there, the digestion process intensifies through hydrochloric acid and other enzymes like protease, lipase, and amylase.
Some nutrients may take longer to digest than others, such as fat and protein. However, the typical meal can leave the stomach in about 3-5 hours.
While the stomach is the known place for digestive activity, nothing is absorbed there! The nutrients are actually absorbed by the small intestine.
There are two ways the nutrients cross through the small intestine’s walls and into the bloodstream:
- Active transport absorption – Nutrients will require a carrier or helper molecule to get through the intestinal wall
- Passive diffusion – Nutrients will move from the inside of your intestine to the bloodstream
Most vitamins are absorbed via passive diffusion, while minerals are transported through active transport absorption. The same process ensues whether you consume food or supplements like Vital Nutrients from Supplement First.
Besides the body’s nutritional status, other factors can influence how your body absorbs nutrients, such as stress, drug interactions, and the following:
- Alcohol and Caffeine – Alcohol and caffeine consumption can cause vitamin deficiencies and poor nutrient absorption. That’s why it’s important to keep these two substances to a minimum.
- Exercise – Exercise can help with your mind and body but an intense workout can affect your body’s nutrient absorption. When the body is busy diverting blood and nutrients to your working muscles, it won’t be able to prioritize digesting and absorbing food.
Wrapping It Up
Now that you know how the body absorbs nutrients, start making dietary changes to get enough of them now!