The American journal of clinical nutrition

Consumption of both black tea and green tea results in an increase in the excretion of hippuric acid into urine.

PMID 15640488


A major portion of the catechins in green tea is not absorbed in the small intestine. Bacteria in the colon convert nonabsorbed catechins into simpler phenolic compounds, which may also be absorbed. During the production of black tea, most catechins are polymerized to complex molecules called thearubigins. Little is known about the microbial degradation of these complex polyphenols, but hippuric acid has been identified as a major excretion product associated with black tea consumption. To investigate whether green tea and black tea have the same metabolic fate in humans. Seventeen healthy male volunteers were studied with a randomized, full-crossover design. Each intervention period lasted 4 d, ie, a 2-d run-in period with a low-polyphenol diet followed by a 2-d treatment period. Volunteers consumed a daily dose of 6 g green tea solids, 6 g black tea solids, or 360 mg caffeine. Intervention periods were separated by a 10-d washout period. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected during the second day of each treatment period. Hippuric acid was analyzed with HPLC-tandem mass spectrometry. The mean excretion of urinary hippuric acid during black tea and green tea consumption was 3.75 +/- 0.28 mmol/24 h and 4.22 +/- 0.28 mmol/24 h, respectively (95% CI for the difference: -0.37 to +1.30 mmol/24 h). The hippuric acid excretion during the control treatment was much lower (1.89 +/- 0.28 mmol/24 h; P < 0.0001, compared with both black tea and green tea). The ingestion of either green tea or black tea results in a major increase in the excretion of hippuric acid into urine.