Most of the B vitamins in foods and feeds exist as precursor compounds or coenzymes that are often bound or complexed in some manner. Hence, gut processes are required to either release or convert vitamin precursors or complexes to usable and absorbable chemical entities. Generally speaking, these processes are not 100% efficient. Moreover, storage, as well as feed and food processing, can also reduce the utilization of food-containing vitamins. Bioavailability of water-soluble vitamins in foodstuffs relative to that of crystalline forms of the same vitamins is an issue that deserves greater attention.
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