Bioavailability is improved by enzymatic modification of the citrus flavonoid hesperidin in humans: A randomized, double-blind, crossover trial

Inge Lise F. Nielsen, Winnie S.S. Chee, Lea Poulsen, Elizabeth Offord-Cavin, Salka E. Rasmussen, Hanne Frederiksen, Marc Enslen, Denis Barron, Marie Noelle Horcajada, Gary Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

248 Citations (Scopus)


Hesperidin is the predominant polyphenol consumed from citrus fruits and juices. However, hesperidin is proposed to have limited bioavailability due to the rutinoside moiety attached to the flavonoid. The aim of this study was to demonstrate in human subjects that the removal of the rhamnose group to yield the corresponding flavonoid glucoside (i.e., hesperetin-7-glucoside) will improve the bioavailability of the aglycone hesperetin. Healthy volunteers (n = 16) completed the double-blind, randomized, crossover study. Subjects randomly consumed hesperetin equivalents supplied as orange juice with natural hesperidin ("low dose"), orange juice treated with hesperidinase enzyme to yield hesperetin-7-glucoside, and orange juice fortified to obtain 3 times more hesperidin than naturally present ("high dose"). The area under the curve (AUC) for total plasma hesperetin of subjects consuming hesperetin-7-glucoside juice was 2-fold higher than that of subjects consuming the "low" dose hesperidin juice [3.45 ± 1.27 vs. 1.16 ± 0.52 mmol/(L·h), respectively, P > 0.0001]. The AUC for hesperetin after consuming the hesperetin-7-glucoside juice was improved to the level of the "high" dose hesperidin juice [4.16 ± 1.50 mmol/(L·h)]. The peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) of hesperetin were 4-fold higher (2.60 ± 1.07 mmol/L, P < 0.0001) after subjects consumed hesperetin-7-glucoside juice compared with those consuming "low" dose hesperidin juice (0.48 ± 0.27 mmol/L), and 1.5-fold higher than those consuming "high" dose hesperidin juice (1.05 ± 0.25 mmol/L). The corresponding Tmax was much faster (0.6 ± 0.1 h, P < 0.0001) after subjects consumed hesperetin-7-glucoside juice compared with "low" dose (7.0 ± 3.0 h) and "high" dose (7.4 ± 2.0 h) hesperidin juices. The results of this study demonstrated that the bioavailability of hesperidin was modulated by enzymatic conversion to hesperetin-7-glucoside, thus changing the absorption site from the colon to the small intestine. This may affect future interventions concerning the health benefits of citrus flavonoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-408
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioavailability
  • Citrus antioxidant
  • Hesperetin-7-glucoside
  • Hesperidin
  • Randomized crossover study

Cite this