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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 9;58(11):6685-91. doi: 10.1021/jf1005353.

Chocolate matrix factors modulate the pharmacokinetic behavior of cocoa flavan-3-ol phase II metabolites following oral consumption by Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


The impact of carbohydrates and milk on the bioavailability of catechin (C) and epicatechin (EC) from chocolate has been previously studied. However, little data exist regarding potential modulation of the phase II metabolism by these chocolate matrix factors. The objectives of this study were to assess the impact of matrix composition on qualitative and quantitative profiles of circulating catechins and their metabolites following administration of commercially relevant chocolate confections. Sprague-Dawley rats were administered 1.5 g of a confection (reference dark, high sucrose, or milk chocolate) by intragastric gavage, and plasma samples were collected over 8 h. High-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis was performed to quantify C, EC, and their metabolites. The predominant metabolites were O-glucuronides (two metabolites) and O-Me-O-glucuronides (three metabolites). Plasma concentrations of metabolites were generally the highest for high sucrose treatment and lowest for milk treatment, while the reference dark treatment generally resulted in intermediate concentrations. The O-Me-(+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronide (peak 4) was significantly higher for the high sucrose treatment (2325 nM h) versus the milk treatment (1300 nM h). Additionally, C(MAX) values for (+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronide (peak 3) and two O-Me-(+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronides (peaks 4 and 6) were significantly higher for the high sucrose treatment (4012, 518, and 2518 nM, respectively) versus the milk treatment (2590, 240, and 1670 nM, respectively). Milk and sucrose appear to modulate both metabolism and plasma pharmacokinetics and, to a lesser extent, the overall bioavailability of catechins from chocolate confections.

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