Polyphenols, a complex group of secondary plant metabolites, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, have been studied in depth for their health-related benefits. The activity of polyphenols may, however, be hampered when consumed together with protein-rich food products, due to the interaction between polyphenols and proteins. To that end we have tested the bioavailability of representatives of a range of polyphenol classes when consumed for five days in different beverage matrices. In a placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study, 35 healthy males received either six placebo gelatine capsules consumed with 200 mL of water, six capsules with 800 mg polyphenols derived from red wine and grape extracts, or the same dose of polyphenols incorporated into 200 mL of either pasteurized dairy drink, soy drink (both containing 3.4% proteins) or fruit-flavoured protein-free drink . At the end of the intervention urine and blood was collected and analysed for a broad range of phenolic compounds using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), Liquid Chromatography–Multiple Reaction Monitoring–Mass Spectrometry (LC-MRM-MS), and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy techniques. The plasma and urine concentrations of the polyphenols identified increased with all formats, including the protein-rich beverages. Compared to capsule ingestion, consumption of polyphenol-rich beverages containing either dairy, soy or no proteins had minor to no effect on the bioavailability and excretion of phenolic compounds in plasma (118% ± 9%) and urine (98% ± 2%). We conclude that intake of polyphenols incorporated in protein-rich drinks does not have a major impact on the bioavailability of a range of different polyphenols and phenolic metabolites.
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