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Food Chem. 2015 Dec 1;188:496-503. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 May 8.

Assessing the bioavailability of polyphenols and antioxidant properties of extra virgin argan oil by simulated digestion and Caco-2 cell assays. Comparative study with extra virgin olive oil.

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Departamento de Fisiología y Bioquímica de la Nutrición Animal, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Armilla, Granada, Spain. Electronic address:
Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.


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.


Antioxidant activity; Bioavailability; Caco-2 cells; Extra virgin argan oil; Polyphenols; Simulated digestion

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