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Free Radic Res. 2006 Oct;40(10):1014-28.

Anthocyanins: structural characteristics that result in unique metabolic patterns and biological activities.

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  • 1Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, 1120 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA.


Interest in anthocyanins has increased immensely during the past decade. From these studies, it is clear that anthocyanins have unique properties: Anthocyanins are absorbed intact and absorption can be saturated; acylation of anthocyanins lowers their apparent absorption; anthocyanidin diglycosides in the form of sambubioside or rutinoside impart increased stability to the anthocyanin molecule; and the quantities excreted in urine are less than 0.1% of intake. However, 60-90% of the anthocyanins may disappear from the gastrointestinal tract within 4 h after a meal. What happens to the bulk of the anthocyanins that disappear is not clear. Degradation accounts for a part of this disappearance, but differs for the various aglycones and may be modified further by the nature of the aglycone glycosylation, which further complicates our understanding of this process. Anthocyanins may play an important role in health promotion in terms of obesity prevention, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

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