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Br J Nutr. 2009 Mar;101(5):664-75. doi: 10.1017/S000711450803081X.

Absorption, metabolism and excretion of flavanones from single portions of orange fruit and juice and effects of anthropometric variables and contraceptive pill use on flavanone excretion.

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  • 1Institute of Food Research, Colney Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, UK.


Oranges are rich sources of flavonoids that are bioactive and may protect against age-related diseases. The absorption of orange flavanones may be affected by factors such as processing and subject anthropometric variables, and the bioactivity of the absorbed phytochemicals depends on how they are metabolised during absorption. In a randomised cross-over study, twenty subjects consumed a single portion of orange fruit (150 g) or juice (300 g) that contained the flavanones narirutin and hesperidin, and an additional 109 subjects across a broad age range (18-80 years) consumed the juice. Flavanone metabolites were measured in regularly collected samples of plasma and urine. After consumption of fruit or juice, flavanone conjugates, but not the aglycones, were detected in plasma and urine. The flavanone conjugates were shown to include the 7- and 4'-O-monoglucuronides of naringenin, the 7- and 3'-O-monoglucuronides of hesperetin, two hesperetin diglucuronides and a hesperetin sulfo-glucuronide, but no aglycones or rutinosides. Analysis of the plasma pharmacokinetic and urinary excretion data on a dose-adjusted basis indicated no difference in absorption or excretion of either flavanone between the fruit and juice matrices. In the extended urinary excretion dataset the individual variation was very large (range 0-59 % urinary yield). There was a small but significant (P < 0.05) decrease in the excretion of hesperetin (but not naringenin) with increasing age (P < 0.05), but the effects of sex, BMI and contraceptive pill use were shown not to be associated with the variation in flavanone excretion.

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