Flavones: Food Sources, Bioavailability, Metabolism, and Bioactivity

Adv Nutr. 2017 May 15;8(3):423-435. doi: 10.3945/an.116.012948. Print 2017 May.


Flavones are a class of flavonoids that are a subject of increasing interest because of their biological activities in vitro and in vivo. This article reviews the major sources of flavones and their concentrations in food and beverages, which vary widely between studies. It also covers the roles of flavones in plants, the influence of growing conditions on their concentrations, and their stability during food processing. The absorption and metabolism of flavones are also reviewed, in particular the intestinal absorption of both O- and C-glycosides. Pharmacokinetic studies in both animals and humans are described, comparing differences between species and the effects of glycosylation on bioavailability. Biological activity in animal models and human dietary intervention studies is also reviewed. A better understanding of flavone sources and bioavailability is needed to understand mechanisms of action and nutritional intervention.

Keywords: absorption; apigenin; diosmetin; flavonoids; luteolin; metabolism; pharmacokinetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Diet*
  • Flavones / metabolism
  • Flavones / pharmacokinetics
  • Flavones / pharmacology*
  • Glycosides / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Edible / metabolism*


  • Flavones
  • Glycosides
  • Plant Extracts