Bioavailability of Black Tea Theaflavins: Absorption, Metabolism, and Colonic Catabolism


Data obtained with in vitro fecal incubations and a feeding study indicate black tea theaflavin and its galloyl derivatives are not absorbed in detectable amounts in either the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. The theaflavin skeleton is comparatively resistant to degradation by colonic bacteria with a 67% recovery being obtained after a 24 h incubation, which yielded 21 phenolic and aromatic catabolites. The theaflavin galloyl moiety was removed by the microbiota, and the released gallic acid further transformed to 3-O– and 4-O-methyl gallic acids, pyrogallol-1-sulfate and pyrogallol-2-sulfate, which were excreted in urine in amounts equivalent to 94% of intake. The main urinary product potentially derived from breakdown of the theaflavin skeleton was 3-(4′-hydroxyphenyl)propionic acid. A number of the colonic catabolites originating from gallic acid and theaflavins has been reported to be bioactive in ex vivo and in vitro models with a variety of potential modes of action.

The manuscript was published by Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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