Absorption, metabolism and excretion of Choladi green tea flavan-3-ols by humans.Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 May; 53 Suppl 1:S44-53.MN
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.