Comparison of the urinary excretion of quercetin glycosides from red onion and aglycone from dietary supplements in healthy subjects: A randomized, single-blinded, cross-over study

Yuanlu Shi, Gary Williamson

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Some intervention studies have shown that quercetin supplementation can regulate certain biomarkers, but it is not clear how the doses given relate to dietary quercetin (e.g. from onion). We conducted a two-period, two-sequence crossover study to compare the bioavailability of quercetin when administered in the form of a fresh red onion meal (naturally glycosylated quercetin) or dietary supplement (aglycone quercetin) under fasting conditions. Six healthy, non-smoking, adult males with BMI 22.7 ± 4.0 kg m-2 and age 35.3 ± 12.3 y were grouped to take the two study meals in random order. In each of the 2 study periods, one serving of onion soup (made from 100 g fresh red onion, providing 156.3 ± 3.4 μmol (47 mg) quercetin) or a single dose of a quercetin dihydrate tablet (1800 ± 150 μmol (544 mg) of quercetin) were administered following 3 d washout. Urine samples were collected up to 24 h, and after enzyme deconjugation, quercetin was quantified by LC-MS. The 24 h urinary excretion of quercetin (1.69 ± 0.79 μmol) from red onion in soup was not significantly different to that (1.17 ± 0.44 μmol) for the quercetin supplement tablet (P = 0.065, paired t-test). This means that, in practice, 166 mg of quercetin supplement would be comparable to about 10 mg of quercetin aglycone equivalents from onion. These data allow intervention studies on quercetin giving either food or supplements to be more effectively compared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1448
Number of pages6
JournalFood & Function
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

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