Absorption and disposition kinetics of the dietary antioxidant quercetin in man

Peter C H Hollman*, Martijn V D Gaag, Marcel J B Mengelers, John M P Van Trijp, Jeanne H M De Vries, Martijn B. Katan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Quercetin is a dietary antioxidant that prevents oxidation of low- density lipoproteins in vitro by scavenging of free oxygen radicals. Its intake was inversely associated with coronary heart disease mortality in Dutch elderly men. However, data on absorption of quercetin in man are scarce and contradictory. We studied the time course of the plasma quercetin concentration in two subjects after ingestion of fried onions containing quercetin glucosides equivalent to 64 mg of quercetin aglycone. Peak plasma levels of 196 ng/ml were reached after 2.9 h, with a half-life of absorption of 0.87 h. The half-life of the distribution phase was 3.8 h, and of the subsequent elimination phase 16.8 h. After 48 h the plasma concentration was about 10 ng/ml. We conclude that quercetin glucosides from onions are absorbed and are eliminated slowly throughout the day. Thus, the dietary antioxidant quercetine could increase the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-707
Number of pages5
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Dietary antioxidant
  • Flavonoids
  • Human absorption
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Quercetin
  • Quercetin glycosides


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