Quercetin, a dietary antioxidant flavonoid, has anticarcinogenic properties. We quantified the absorption of quercetin in ileostomists. Absorption was 52 ± 5% for quercetin glucosides from onions, 17 ± 15% for quercetin rutinoside, and 24 ± 9% for quercetin aglycone. The plasma quercetin concentration in subjects with an intact colon, after ingestion of fried onions, apples and pure quercetin rutinoside, decreased slowly with elimination half-lives of about 25 h. Thus, repeated dietary intake of quercetin will lead to accumulation in plasma. The relative bioavailability of quercetin from apples and rutinoside was one-third of that from onions. Absorption kinetics and bioavailibility might be determined by the type of glycoside. Dietary quercetin could increase the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma.