Nutrients can interact with each other or with other dietary components in the body, thereby influencing their bioavailability. Enhancers of bioavailability can act in different ways, such as keeping a nutrient well soluble or protecting it from interaction with inhibitors. For example, adding small quantities of fat or oil to the meal improves the bioavailability of the fat-soluble carotenoids and tocopherols.

Vitamin C is a strong enhancer of iron bioavailability, being able to increase iron absorption two to three-fold (Teucher et al. 2004). This means, for example, having a glass of orange juice with a bowl of breakfast cereals helps the body to absorb more of the iron present in the cereals (EUFIC).


European Food Information Council. (n.d.). Nutrient bioavailability: Getting the most out of food: (EUFIC). Retrieved from

Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. 2004. Enhancers of iron absorption: Ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74: 403–419. DOI: 10.1024/0300-9831.74.6.403.