In pharmacology, bioavailability
) is a subcategory of absorption
and is the fraction
of an administered dose of unchanged drug that reaches the systemic
circulation, one of the principal pharmacokinetic properties of drugs. By definition, when a medication is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%. However, when a medication is administered via other routes (such as orally), its bioavailability generally decreases (due to incomplete absorption and first-pass metabolism
) or may vary from patient to patient. Bioavailability is one of the essential tools in pharmacokinetics, as bioavailability must be considered when calculating dosages for non-intravenous routes of administration.
For dietary supplements, herbs and other nutrients in which the route
of administration is nearly always oral
, bioavailability generally designates simply the quantity or fraction of the ingested dose that is absorbed.
Bioavailability is defined slightly differently for drugs as opposed to dietary supplements primarily due to the method of administration and Food and Drug Administration regulations.
is a concept related to bioavailability in the context of biodegradation and environmental pollution
. A molecule (often a persistent organic pollutant
) is said to be bioaccessible when "[it] is available to cross
an organism's cellular membrane from the environment, if the organism has access to the chemical."