Metabolism and bioavailability of trans-resveratrol

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 May;49(5):472-81. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200500010.


Resveratrol (3,4',5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) is a polyphenolic compound accounting to the stilbene class. Most stilbenes in plants act as antifungal phytoalexins, compounds that are usually synthesized only in response to infection or injury. Resveratrol has been detected in trees, in a few flowering plants, in peanuts, and in grapevines. The major dietary sources of resveratrol include grapes, wine, peanuts, and peanut products. Numerous in vitro studies describe different biological effects of resveratrol. The major impacts are the antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and estrogenic effects as well as anticancer and chemopreventive activities. In order to reveal information on absorption, metabolism, and the consequent bioavailability of resveratrol, different research approaches were performed, including in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, all of which are considered in this review. Summarizing the data, resveratrol is absorbed and metabolized. Around 75% of this polyphenol are excreted via feces and urine. The oral bioavailability of resveratrol is almost zero due to rapid and extensive metabolism and the consequent formation of various metabolites as resveratrol glucuronides and resveratrol sulfates. The potential biologic activity of resveratrol conjugates should be considered in future investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / administration & dosage
  • Stilbenes / metabolism*
  • Stilbenes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Wine


  • Stilbenes
  • Resveratrol