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Pharmacol Res. 2005 Oct;52(4):290-7.

Urinary pharmacokinetics of betalains following consumption of red beet juice in healthy humans.

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Solvay Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Hans-Boeckler-Allee 20, D-30173 Hannover, Germany.


The aim of the present pilot study was to characterise the renal elimination of betalains after consumption of red beet juice (RBJ). Six healthy, non-smoking female volunteers were given a single oral dose of either 500 mL of a commercial RBJ containing 362.7 mg of betalains and 500 mL of tap water, respectively, in a sequential manner. Urine was collected in intervals up to 24 h post-dose. Renal excretion of betalains was determined spectrophotometrically and quantified as betanin-equivalents. In addition, the identity of individual compounds was confirmed by HPLC coupled with diode-array detection and positive ion electrospray mass spectrometry, respectively. The amount (mean+/-S.D.) of intact betalains (betanin and isobetanin) recovered in urine was 1001+/-273 microg corresponding to 0.28+/-0.08% of the administered dose. Maximum excretion rates were observed after a median tmax,R of 3.0 h (range 2.5-8.0 h) amounting to 91.7+/-30.1 microg/h. The terminal elimination rate constant (lambdaz) and the corresponding half-life were 0.097+/-0.021 h(-1) and 7.43+/-1.47 h, respectively. Using the lambdaz estimates obtained the expected total betalain amount excreted in urine was 1228+/-291 microg. Based on the results obtained it is assumed that either the bioavailability of the betalains is low or that renal clearance is a minor route of systemic elimination for these compounds. The urinary excretion rates of unmetabolised betalains were fast and appeared to be monoexponential suggesting a one-compartment model. In order to get a more complete picture of the pharmacokinetics and health-promoting properties of red beet betalains, quantitative data on betalain bioavailability should include measurements of unchanged compounds and their corresponding metabolites in plasma, urine and bile.

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