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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7752-8. doi: 10.1021/jf2015232. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Effect of milk and brewing method on black tea catechin bioaccessibility.

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Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Olivier van Noortlaan 120, 3130 AC Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether milk reduces the bioaccessibility of tea catechins, which would compromise tea beneficial effects ascribed to polyphenols. Adding milk to black tea has been shown to lead to polyphenol-protein complexes. So far, data on the intestinal stability of polyphenol-protein complexes are scarce. English black tea (0.93 ± 0.06 mol/L total catechins) and Indian black tea (1.83 ± 0.08 mol/L catechins) were prepared with skimmed or full-fat milk and subjected to simulated gastric, small intestinal, and brush border digestion. Adding milk (5.6-40%) to tea results in a decrease of total catechin (TCAT) recovery. However, the bioaccessibilities of TCAT of tea with milk versus tea controls were comparable (p > 0.05). The type of milk did not influence TCAT recovery during all digestive stages (p > 0.05). Polyphenol-protein complexes are degraded during digestion. It is very unlikely that consumption of tea with or without milk will result in differences in catechin plasma concentration.

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