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J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Apr 18;60(15):3874-81. doi: 10.1021/jf3001857. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Pharmacokinetics of quercetin absorption from apples and onions in healthy humans.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, One Shields Avenue, University of California-Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A high-throughput method for the extraction and analysis of quercetin in human plasma using 96-well SPE and LC-(ESI)MS/MS (7 min/run) is described. Quercetin exists as a range of glycosides in foods. The dominant types of quercetin glycosides vary depending on genetics (i.e., species and cultivar). Dietary sources include onions and apples (i.e., the peel). Herein the quercetin glycoside composition was determined in a composite standard of dried apple peel and in onion powder. The predominant forms of quercetin in apple peel include quercetin O-arabinoside, 3-O-galactoside, 3-O-glucoside, and 3-O-rhamnoside. In the onion powder, quercetin occurred as the quercetin 3,4'-O-glucoside and 4'-O-glucoside. Pharmacokinetics relating to absorption (C(max), t(max), and AUC(0-24 h)) and elimination (k(el) and t(1/2)) were compared after the consumption of apple peel powder (AP), onion powder (OP), or a mixture of the apple peel and onion powder enriched applesauce (MP) by healthy volunteers (eight females and eight males). The enriched applesauce delivered ∼100 mg of quercetin aglycone equivalents. Consumption of the OP resulted in C(max) = 273.2 ± 93.7 ng/mL, t(max) = 2.0 ± 1.7 h, and t(1/2) = 14.8 ± 4.8 h, whereas the AP resulted in C(max) = 63.8 ± 22.4 ng/mL, t(max) = 2.9 ± 2.0 h, and t(1/2) = 65.4 ± 80.0 h. The MP resulted in an intermediate response with C(max) = 136.5 ± 45.8 ng/mL, t(max) = 2.4 ± 1.5 h, and t(1/2) = 18.7 ± 6.8 h. Consumption of the OP led to faster absorption, higher concentration, and greater bioavailability as compared to the AP. No significant gender-related differences were observed in the absorption of quercetin, whereas significant gender-related differences in the elimination half-time (t(1/2)) were observed.

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