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Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1994 Oct;46(3):221-9.

Green and black tea consumption by humans: impact on polyphenol concentrations in feces, blood and urine.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 68583-0807.


The objective of the study was to determine the effects of green tea, black tea and decaffeinated black tea consumption on urinary and fecal excretions and whole blood and blood serum concentrations of polyphenols. The 56 day study was divided into four randomly arranged experimental periods of 14 days each during which the 10 healthy adult subjects consumed a laboratory controlled, constant, measured diet based on ordinary foods. During separate periods, subjects received no tea, green tea, regular black tea or decaffeinated black tea beverages at the three daily meals. Subjects made complete collections of urine and stools throughout the study and fasting blood samples were drawn at the beginning of the study and at the end of each experimental period. Polyphenols contained in urine, feces, whole blood, blood serums, food and tea were analyzed by the spectrophotometry method of Wah Lau et al. (1989). Green tea consumption resulted in highest intakes in greatest fecal and urinary excretions, highest retentions, and high whole blood concentrations of polyphenols followed by effects of regular black tea, decaffeinated black tea and no tea treatments. These results indicate that polyphenols from tea are at least partly absorbable. Hence, both positive and negative effects of dietary polyphenol may occur internal to the body proper and not only as effects within the intestines.

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