Tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants and are believed to have beneficial health effects. However, the blood and tissue levels of these compounds are not well characterized because of a lack of suitable analytical methods for the biological resolution of these compounds. Previously, we developed methods for the analysis of three green tea catechins. Now we report an improved method for the measurement of the levels of the different catechins and theaflavins in biological fluids and tissues. The method includes digestion of the plasma, urine, or tissue samples with beta-d-glucuronidase and sulfatase, followed by extraction with ethyl acetate and subsequent separation by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The polyphenols are identified on the basis of their retention times, spectral analysis, and electrochemical behavior across an array of electrodes. In a single HPLC run, it is possible to determine the major catechins and theaflavins as well as some of the catechin metabolites. The detection limits for catechins and theaflavins are from 5 to 10 ng/ml of saliva, plasma, or urine.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.