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Br J Nutr. 2007 May;97(5):963-9.

Absorption and metabolism of bioactive molecules after oral consumption of cooked edible heads of Cynara scolymus L. (cultivar Violetto di Provenza) in human subjects: a pilot study.

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Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Roma, Italy.


The current growing interest for natural antioxidants has led to a renewed scientific attention for artichoke, due not only to its nutritional value, but, overall, to its polyphenolic content, showing strong antioxidant properties. The major constituents of artichoke extracts are hydroxycinnamic acids such as chlorogenic acid, dicaffeoylquinic acids caffeic acid and ferulic acid, and flavonoids such as luteolin and apigenin glycosides. In vitro studies, using cultured rat hepatocytes, have shown its hepatoprotective functions and in vivo studies have shown the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis in human subjects. Several studies have shown the effect on animal models of artichoke extracts, while information on human bioavailability and metabolism of hydroxycinnamates derivatives is still lacking. Results showed a plasma maximum concentration of 6.4 (SD 1.8) ng/ml for chlorogenic acid after 1 h and its disappearance within 2 h (P< 0.05). Peak plasma concentrations of 19.5 (SD 6.9) ng/ml for total caffeic acid were reached within 1 h, while ferulic acid plasma concentrations showed a biphasic profile with 6.4 (SD1.5) ng/ml and 8.4 (SD4.6) ng/ml within 1 h and after 8 h respectively. We observed a significant increase of dihydrocaffeic acid and dihydroferulic acid total levels after 8 h (P<0.05). No circulating plasma levels of luteolin and apigenin were present. Our study confirms the bioavailability of metabolites of hydroxycinnamic acids after ingestion of cooked edible Cynara scolymus L. (cultivar Violetto di Provenza).

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