Flavan-3-ols are a major subclass of the class of plant phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Flavan-3-ols are commonly found in fruit, vegetable, and botanical products, including tea, cocoa, grapes, and apples. Both monomeric catechins and polymeric procyanidins are common in the diet, along with several derivatives produced by degradation of these species during processing. Both epidemiological and biological evidence suggests a health-protective role for dietary flavan-3-ols, leading to increased interest in the bioavailability of these compounds from foods. Flavan-3-ol bioavailability depends on numerous factors, including digestive release, absorption, metabolism, and elimination. In addition to these in vivo factors, the complexity of whole-food systems (physical form, flavan-3-ol form and dose, macronutrient and micronutrient profile, processing, etc.) influences the absorption efficiency and circulating profile of flavan-3-ols. An understanding of how food matrices may influence flavan-3-ol absorption will provide a framework to design and develop functional products that positively affect flavan-3-ol absorption and, by extension, potential bioactivity.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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