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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jul 26;54(15):5350-8.

Association between consumption of cruciferous vegetables and condiments and excretion in urine of isothiocyanate mercapturic acids.

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Business Unit Analytical Research, TNO Quality of Life, P.O. Box 360, 3700 AJ Zeist, The Netherlands.


A high intake of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This protective effect has been linked to isothiocyanates, enzymatic hydrolysis products of glucosinolates. In this study, the metabolic fate of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates after ingestion of 19 different cruciferous vegetables was studied in three male subjects. After the consumption of 13 cruciferous vegetables (glucosinolate content, 0.01-0.94 mmol/kg) and six condiments (isothiocyanate content, 0.06-49.3 mmol/kg), eight different isothiocyanate mercapturic acids were determined in urine samples. Excretion levels after the consumption of raw vegetables and condiments were higher (bioavailability, 8.2-113%) as compared to cooked vegetables (bioavailability, 1.8-43%), but the excretion rate was similar (t1/2=2.1-3.9 h). Isothiocyanates in urine remain longer at a nonzero level after the consumption of glucosinolates from cooked vegetables, as compared to raw vegetables and condiments, and maximal levels in urine were reached about 4 h later. Isothiocyanate mercapturic acids can be used as a biomarker to reflect the active dose of isothiocyanates absorbed.

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