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Br J Nutr. 2002 Apr;87(4):299-306.

Procyanidins are not bioavailable in rats fed a single meal containing a grapeseed extract or the procyanidin dimer B3.

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Laboratoire des Maladies Métaboliques et Micronutriments, INRA, Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.


Flavanols are the most abundant flavonoids in the human diet where they exist as monomers, oligomers and polymers. In the present study, catechin, the procyanidin dimer B3 and a grape-seed extract containing catechin, epicatechin and a mixture of procyanidins were fed to rats in a single meal. After the meals, catechin and epicatechin were present in conjugated forms in both plasma and urine. In contrast, no procyanidins or conjugates were detected in the plasma or urine of any rats. Procyanidins were not cleaved into bioavailable monomers and had no significant effects on the plasma levels or urinary excretion of the monomers when supplied together in the grapeseed extract. We conclude that the nutritional effects of dietary procyanidins are unlikely to be due to procyanidins themselves or monomeric metabolites with the intact flavonoid-ring structure, as they do not exist at detectable concentrations in vivo. Future research should focus on other procyanidin metabolites such as phenolic acids and on the effects of the unabsorbed oligomers and polymers on the human gastrointestinal tract.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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