Many in vitro studies demonstrated significant biological effects of trans-resveratrol. Thus, understanding the rate of intestinal absorption and metabolization in vivo of trans-resveratrol is the prerequisite to evaluate its potential health impact. Bioavailability studies mainly in animals or in humans using the pure compound at very high doses were performed. In this work, trans-resveratrol bioavailability from a moderate consumption of red wine in 25 healthy humans has been studied by three different experiments. The wine ingestion was associated to three different dietary approaches: fasting, a standard meal, a meal with high and low amount of lipids. Trans-resveratrol 3- and 4’- glucuronides were synthesized, purified, and characterized as pure standards. Bioavailability data were obtained by measuring the concentration of free, 3-glucuronide and 4’-glucuronide trans-resveratrol by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), both with ultraviolet (UV) and mass spectrometry (MS) detection, in serum samples taken at different times after red wine administration. Free trans-resveratrol was found, in trace amounts, only in some serum samples collected 30 min after red wine ingestion while after longer times resveratrol glucuronides predominated. Transresveratrol bioavailability was shown to be independent from the meal or its lipid content. The finding in human serum of trans-resveratrol glucuronides, rather than the free form of the compound, with a high interindividual variability, raises some doubts about the health effects of dietary resveratrol consumption and suggests that the benefits associated to red wine consumption could be probably due to the whole antioxidant pool present in red wine.
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