In Vivo Bioavailability Techniques

Various animal models and techniques have been used to estimate nutrient bioavailability. A primary concern that must be initially addressed in using animal models to estimate nutrient bioavailability is whether these various model systems accurately reflect nutrient bioavailability in humans. For example, usual experimental animal models, such as rats and mice, cannot be used to assess beta-carotene bioavailability because the absorptive mechanism in these rodents for this nutrient is quite different from that in humans. In contrast, the ferret appears to be a suitable animal model to at least mimic this carotenoid's intestinal absorptive pathway. Similarly, poor correlation of iron bioavailability between chicks and humans for elemental iron powders has raised questions about the suitability of that species for estimating nutrient bioavailability of iron.

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