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Free Radic Res. 1999 Dec;31(6):569-73.

The sugar moiety is a major determinant of the absorption of dietary flavonoid glycosides in man.

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DLO-State Institute for Quality Control of Agricultural Products (RIKILT-DLO), Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Flavonoids are antioxidants present in plant foods. They occur mainly as glycosides, i.e. linked with various sugars. It is uncertain to what extent dietary flavonoid glycosides are absorbed from the gut. We investigated how the nature of the sugar group affected absorption of one major flavonoid, quercetin. Quercetin linked with glucose, i.e. quercetin glucoside and quercetin linked with rutinose, i.e. quercetin rutinoside, both occur widely in foods. When we fed these compounds to nine volunteers, the peak concentration of quercetin (Cmax) in plasma was 20 times higher and was reached (Tmax) more than ten times faster after intake of the glucoside (Cmax = 3.5+/-0.6 microM (mean +/- SE); Tmax < 0.5 h) than after the rutinoside (Cmax = 0.18+/-0.04 microM; Tmax = 6.0+/-1.2 h). The bioavailability of the rutinoside was only 20% of that of the glucoside. We suggest that quercetin glucoside is actively absorbed from the small intestine, whereas quercetin rutinoside is absorbed from the colon after deglycosylation. Absorption of other food components might also be enhanced by attachment of a glucose group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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