Scientists boost ellagic acid bioavailability: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Antioxidant

Forming a complex with phospholipids could enhance the bioavailability of ellagic acid, a polyphenol with antioxidant activity, according to new findings from India.

Researchers led by Pulok Mukherjee from Jadavpur University in India report that the ellagic acid-phospholipid complex more than doubled blood levels of the polyphenol, compared to free ellagic acid.

They report their findings online ahead of print in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​.

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds with health benefits reported to range from improved cardiovascular health, to protection against certain cancers and Alzheimer's.

Data from Leatherhead Food International (LFI) shows that the world functional antioxidants market is increasing year on year by around 3 per cent, and was valued at US$ 400 million in 2004, and US$ 438 million in 2007. Europe, the US, and Japan account for 90 per cent of this market.

“Ellagic acid is one of those polyphenols that have received the attention of researchers. It has a wide array of biological properties, such as radical scavenging, chemopreventive, antiviral, and antibacterial properties,”​ explained the researchers.

“Although EA exhibits good antioxidant activity, it is metabolised by intestinal microorganisms upon oral administration and rapidly eliminated from the body due to short plasma half-life, which makes it unavailable for sufficient nutritional benefit.

“To eliminate this, the present study dealt with the preparation and evaluation of a novel phospholipid complex of EA,”​ they added.

Study details

Mukherjee and his co-workers report that a “simple and reproducible method”​ can produce the complex between hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC) and ellagic acid (at a ratio of 4:1).

Tests of the antioxidant activity of the complex, compared to free ellagic acid, were performed using rats at doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg. The low dose of the free ellagic acid reportedly had no effect on measures of oxidative stress biomarkers present in the liver, while the high dose (50 mg/kg) produced “a significant change in the activity, playing a protective role”​.

On the other hand, both doses of the complex showed significant activity. “The complex at the lower dose (about 25 mg/kg) showed results almost similar to those of the pure EA at double the dose,”​ report the researchers.

Moreover, the complex exhibited control release of the polyphenol, with a doubling of the release, compared to the free ellagic acid.

“Thus, from the present study it may be interpreted that the phospholipid complex of EA can produce better nutritional efficacy in rats for a longer period of time as compared to the molecule itself by virtue of the better absorption and bioavailability of the molecule, which is supported by the pharmacokinetic study,”​ concluded the researchers.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​ Published online ahead of print, ASAP Article, doi: 10.1021/jf8037105"Enhanced Oral Bioavailability and Antioxidant Profile of Ellagic Acid by Phospholipids"​Authors: V. Murugan, K. Mukherjee, K. Maiti, P. Mukherjee

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