Comparative analysis of fecal phenolic content between normal and obese rats after oral administration of tea polyphenols†
Tea polyphenols (TP) have many health benefits, but most are metabolized into low molecular-weight phenolic acids after oral administration. In the present study, the absorption, metabolism, and excretion of catechins in rats fed a normal chow diet and in obese rats fed a high-fat and high-sugar (HFHS) diet were compared. After a ten-day oral administration of TP (500 mg per kg bw), the plasma levels of (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and (−)-gallocatechin gallate (GCG) in obese rats were significantly lower than those in the normal group. In obese rats, the fecal levels of EGCG, (−)-epicatechin gallate (ECG) and GCG were significantly enhanced. Ten phenolic metabolites of TP were quantitatively analyzed, and the results showed that 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid was the primary metabolite in feces and plasma. The plasma and fecal concentrations of 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid in the obese group were significantly lower than those in normal rats, but the levels of 4-hydroxyphenylpropionic acid in plasma and feces were increased. The content of other phenolic acids was also dramatically changed. These results suggested that a HFHS diet might influence the excretion of tea catechins, leading to insufficient metabolism of catechins by the gut microflora.