Effects of Fats and Oils on the Bioaccessibility of Carotenoids and Vitamin E in Vegetables

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(5):1055-60. doi: 10.1271/bbb.130025. Epub 2013 May 7.


The low bioavailability of lipophilic micronutrients is mainly caused by their limited solubilization to an aqueous micelle, which hinders their ability to be taken up by the intestines. Bioaccessibility is the ratio of the solubilized portion to the whole amount ingested. We evaluated in this study the effects of individual fats and oils and their constituents on the bioaccessibility of carotenoids and vitamin E in vegetables by simulated digestion. Various fats and oils and long-chain triacylglycerols enhanced the bioaccessibility of β-carotene present in spinach, but not of lutein and α-tocopherol, which are less hydrophobic than β-carotene. Free fatty acid, monoacylglycerol, and diacylglycerol also enhanced the bioaccessibility of β-carotene present in spinach. In addition to the long-chain triacylglycerols, their hydrolyzates formed during digestion would facilitate the dispersion and solubilization of β-carotene into mixed micelles. Dietary fats and oils would therefore enhance the bioaccessibility of hydrophobic carotenes present in vegetables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Availability
  • Carotenoids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lutein / pharmacokinetics
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacokinetics*
  • alpha-Tocopherol / pharmacokinetics


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • Lutein