Exposure of breastfed infants to quercetin after consumption of a single meal rich in quercetin by their mothers

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Feb;58(2):221-8. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200773. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


Scope: The exposure to quercetin (Q) has not been studied in breastfed infants whose mothers were consuming a Q-rich diet. The objective of the study was to determine whether plant-origin antioxidant-Q passes from the mother's diet to her milk and to calculate the pharmacokinetic parameters of this phenomenon.

Methods and results: Eleven breastfeeding women were included in this controlled case study. Volunteers followed a Q-restricted diet for 5 consecutive days with the exception of the 3rd day when they received a single meal providing 1 mg of Q per kg of body weight. Urine analysis showed the presence of Q already in the first collected samples after the test (1.5-4 h), which indicated its rapid absorption from the meal. The Cmax = 68 ± 8.44 nmol/L concentration of Q in the milk was calculated for Tmax = 11.89 ± 3.37 h. It was significantly different (p = 0.007) from 40 nmol/L and (p = 0.016) from 42 nmol/L of Q concentration before and 48 h after the test, respectively.

Conclusions: Q was shown to be a component of human milk at the nmol/L level. Infants breastfed by mothers consuming a diet rich in Q are exposed to a dose of approximately 0.01 mg of Q daily.

Keywords: Breastfeeding woman; Human milk; Infants; Onion; Quercetin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Mothers
  • Quercetin / administration & dosage*
  • Quercetin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Quercetin / urine


  • Quercetin