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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 May;53 Suppl 1:S44-53. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200800169.

Absorption, metabolism and excretion of Choladi green tea flavan-3-ols by humans.

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Plant Products and Human Nutrition Group, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


Ten healthy human subjects consumed 500 mL of Choladi green tea, containing 648 mumol of flavan-3-ols after which plasma and urine were collected over a 24 h period and analysed by HPLC-MS. Plasma contained a total of ten metabolites, in the form of O-methylated, sulphated and glucuronide conjugates of (epi)catechin and (epi)gallocatechin, with 29-126 nM peak plasma concentrations (C(max)) occurring 1.6-2.3 h after ingestion, indicative of absorption in the small intestine. Plasma also contained unmetabolised (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate with respective C(max) values of 55 and 25 nM. Urine excreted 0-24 h after consumption of green tea contained 15 metabolites of (epi)catechin and (epi)gallocatechin, but (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate were not detected. Overall flavan-3-ol metabolite excretion was equivalent to 8.1% of intake, however, urinary (epi)gallocatechin metabolites corresponded to 11.4% of (epi)gallocatechin ingestion while (epi)catechin metabolites were detected in amounts equivalent to 28.5% of (epi)catechin intake. These findings imply that (epi)catechins are highly bioavailable, being absorbed and excreted to a much greater extent than most other flavonoids. It is also evident that flavan-3-ol metabolites are rapidly turned over in the circulatory system and as a consequence C(max) values are not an accurate quantitative indicator of the extent to which absorption occurs.

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