Interaction of green tea polyphenols with dairy matrices in a simulated gastrointestinal environment

Food Funct. 2014 Oct;5(10):2621-31. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00203b. Epub 2014 Aug 26.


The consumption of polyphenols in green tea has been associated with beneficial health effects. Although polyphenols are unstable in the intestinal environment, they may be protected by interactions with dairy proteins during digestion. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of a green tea extract on the digestibility of different dairy matrices and to monitor the antioxidant activity of these matrices with or without the green tea extract during digestion in a simulated gastrointestinal environment. Milk, yogurt and cheese with similar fat-to-protein ratios were subjected to simulated digestion. Matrix degradation, protein and fat hydrolysis, polyphenol concentration and radical scavenging activity were analyzed during gastric and intestinal digestion phases. Cheese was the matrix most resistant to protein and fat digestion. The addition of the green tea extract significantly decreased proteolysis in the gastric phase but had no effect in the intestinal phase. The kinetics of fatty acid release was reduced by the presence of the green tea extract. Transition from the gastric phase to the intestinal phase induced a 50% decrease in the antioxidant activity of the control (tea extract dispersed in water) due to the degradation of polyphenols. The presence of dairy matrices significantly improved polyphenol stability in the intestinal phase and increased the antioxidant activity by 29% (cheese) to 42% (milk) compared to the control. These results suggest that simultaneous consumption of green tea and dairy products helps to maintain the integrity and antioxidant activity of polyphenols during digestion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Cheese*
  • Digestion
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / chemistry*
  • Proteolysis
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Yogurt*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Tea