Urinary excretions of 34 dietary polyphenols and their associations with lifestyle factors in the EPIC cohort study

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 7;6:26905. doi: 10.1038/srep26905.


Urinary excretion of 34 dietary polyphenols and their variations according to diet and other lifestyle factors were measured by tandem mass spectrometry in 475 adult participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cross-sectional study. A single 24-hour urine sample was analysed for each subject from 4 European countries. The highest median levels were observed for phenolic acids such as 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (157 μmol/24 h), followed by 3-hydroxyphenylacetic, ferulic, vanillic and homovanillic acids (20-50 μmol/24 h). The lowest concentrations were observed for equol, apigenin and resveratrol (<0.1 μmol/24 h). Urinary polyphenols significantly varied by centre, followed by alcohol intake, sex, educational level, and energy intake. This variability is largely explained by geographical variations in the diet, as suggested by the high correlations (r > 0.5) observed between urinary polyphenols and the intake of their main food sources (e.g., resveratrol and gallic acid ethyl ester with red wine intake; caffeic, protocatechuic and ferulic acids with coffee consumption; and hesperetin and naringenin with citrus fruit intake). The large variations in urinary polyphenols observed are largely determined by food preferences. These polyphenol biomarkers should allow more accurate evaluation of the relationships between polyphenol exposure and the risk of chronic diseases in large epidemiological studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / urine*
  • Polyphenols / urine*
  • Risk Factors


  • Polyphenols