Bioavailabilities of quercetin-3-glucoside and quercetin-4'- glucoside do not differ in humans

Margreet R. Olthof*, Peter C H Hollman, Tom B. Vree, Martijn B. Katan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The flavonoid quercetin is an antioxidant which occurs in foods mainly as glycosides. The sugar moiety in quercetin glycosides affects their bioavailability in humans. Quercetin-3-rutinoside is an important form of quercetin in foods, but its bioavailability in humans is only 20% of that of quercetin-4'-glucoside. Quercetin-3-rutinoside can be transformed into quercetin-3-glucoside by splitting off a rhamnose molecule. We studied whether this 3-glucoside has the same high bioavailability as the quercetin- 4'-glucoside. To that end we fed five healthy men and four healthy women (19- 57 y) a single dose of 325 μmol of pure quercetin-3-glucoside and a single dose of 331 μmol of pure quercetin-4'-glucoside and followed the plasma quercetin concentrations. The bioavailability was the same for both quercetin glucosides. The mean peak plasma concentration of quercetin was 5.0 (+) 1.0 μmol/L ((+)SE) after subjects had ingested quercetin-3-glucoside and 4.5 (+) 0.7 μmol/L after quercetin-4'-glucoside consumption. Peak concentration was reached 37 (+) 12 min after ingestion of quercetin-3-glucoside and 27 (+) 5 min after quercetin-4'-glucoside. Half-life of elimination of quercetin from blood was 18.5 (+) 0.8 h after ingestion of quercetin-3-glucoside and 17.7 (+) 0.9 h after quercetin-4'-glucoside. We conclude that quercetin glucosides are rapidly absorbed in humans, irrespective of the position of the glucose moiety. Conversion of quercetin glycosides into glucosides is a promising strategy to enhance bioavailability of quercetin from foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1203
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Bioavailability
  • Flavonols
  • Humans
  • Metabolism
  • Quercetin glucosides


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