Argan oil is becoming increasingly popular in the edible-oil market as a luxury food with healthy properties. This paper analyzes (i) the bioavailability of the polyphenol content and antioxidant properties of extra virgin argan oil (EVA) by the combination of in vitro digestion and absorption across Caco-2 cells and (ii) the protective role of the oil bioaccessible fraction (BF) against induced oxidative stress. Results were compared with those obtained with extra virgin olive oil (EVO). Higher values of polyphenols and antioxidant activity were observed in the BF obtained after the in vitro digestion of oils compared with the initial chemical extracts; the increase was higher for EVA but absolute BF values were lower than EVO. Bioaccessible polyphenols from EVA were absorbed by Caco-2 cells in higher proportions than from EVO, and minor differences were observed for antioxidant activity. Preincubation of cell cultures with BF from both oils significantly protected against oxidation, limiting cell damage and reducing reactive oxygen species generation.
Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Bioavailability; Caco-2 cells; Extra virgin argan oil; Polyphenols; Simulated digestion.
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