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Antioxidants (Basel). 2017 Nov 22;6(4). pii: E95. doi: 10.3390/antiox6040095.

Vitamin E Bioavailability: Mechanisms of Intestinal Absorption in the Spotlight.

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Aix Marseille University, INRA, INSERM, C2VN, 13005 Marseille, France.


Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient whose effects on human health can be attributed to both antioxidant and non-antioxidant properties. A growing number of studies aim to promote vitamin E bioavailability in foods. It is thus of major interest to gain deeper insight into the mechanisms of vitamin E absorption, which remain only partly understood. It was long assumed that vitamin E was absorbed by passive diffusion, but recent data has shown that this process is actually far more complex than previously thought. This review describes the fate of vitamin E in the human gastrointestinal lumen during digestion and focuses on the proteins involved in the intestinal membrane and cellular transport of vitamin E across the enterocyte. Special attention is also given to the factors modulating both vitamin E micellarization and absorption. Although these latest results significantly improve our understanding of vitamin E intestinal absorption, further studies are still needed to decipher the molecular mechanisms driving this multifaceted process.


HDL; chylomicrons; dietary lipids; enterocytes; fat-soluble vitamins; food matrix; intestine; membrane transporters; mixed micelles; tocopherol; uptake

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