Correlations between urinary concentrations and dietary intakes of flavonols in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study
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In this study, we aimed to study the correlation between acute and habitual intakes of flavonols, their main food sources and their 24-h urinary concentrations in an European population.
A 24-h dietary recall (24-HDR) and 24-h urine samples were collected on the same day from a convenience subsample of 475 men and women from four countries (France, Italy, Greece and Germany) of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. A standardized 24-HDR software and a country/centre-specific validated dietary questionnaire (DQ) were used to collect acute and habitual dietary data, respectively. The intake of dietary flavonols was estimated using the Phenol-Explorer database. Urinary flavonols (quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol) were analysed using tandem mass spectrometry with a previous enzymatic hydrolysis.
Weak partial Spearman correlations between both dietary acute and habitual intake and urinary concentrations of quercetin (both Rpartial ~ 0.3) and total flavonols (both Rpartial ~ 0.2) were observed. No significant correlations were found for kaempferol and isorhamentin. Regarding flavonol-rich foods, weak correlations were found between urinary concentrations of quercetin and total flavonols and the acute intake of onions and garlics, fruits, tea, and herbal tea (all Rpartial ~ 0.2). For habitual intake, statistically significant correlations were only found between urinary quercetin concentration and herbal tea (Rpartial = 0.345) and between urinary total flavonol concentration and tea, and herbal tea consumption (Rpartial ~ 0.2).
Our results suggest that urinary quercetin level can be used as potential concentration biomarkers of both acute and habitual quercetin intake, while urinary concentrations of flavonols are unlikely to be useful biomarkers of individual flavonol-rich foods.
KeywordsFlavonols Quercetin Urine Biomarker EPIC
24-hours dietary recall
Body mass index
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
Limit of quantification
We thank Mr Bertrand Hémon for his valuable help with the EPIC database.
AS and RZ-R designed the research; DA carried out the laboratory analyses; YG-A and VC performed the statistical analyses; YG-A and RZ-R drafted the manuscript; HB and AS largely contributed to the interpretation of the results; HB, FRM, YM-S, M-CB-R, TK, VK, AT, AK, PT, GM, SG, MSdeM, RT, FR, IH, AA provided data and biological samples. All authors reviewed, edited and approved the final manuscript.
The national cohorts are supported by the French National Cancer Institute (L’Institut National du Cancer; INCA Grant 2009-139); Ligue contre le Cancer, Institut Gustave Roussy, Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) (France); German Cancer Aid; German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ); German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany); the Hellenic Health Foundation (Greece); Italian Association for Research on Cancer; Compagnia San Paolo, (Italy). RZ-R would like to thank the “Miguel Servet” program (CP15/00100) from the Institute of Health Carlos III and European Social Fund (ESF).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Availability of data and materials
For information on how to submit an application for gaining access to EPIC data and/or biospecimens, please follow the instructions at http://epic.iarc.fr/access/index.php.
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