Gut microbiota-mediated metabolism of green tea catechins and the biological consequences: An updated review

Chen Liu*, Ren You Gan, Daiwen Chen, Liang Zheng, Siew Bee Ng, Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple beneficial effects have been attributed to green tea catechins (GTCs). However, the bioavailability of GTCs is generally low, with only a small portion directly absorbed in the small intestine. The majority of ingested GTCs reaches the large intestinal lumen, and are extensively degraded via biotransformation by gut microbiota, forming many low-molecular-weight metabolites such as phenyl-γ-valerolactones, phenolic acids, butyrate, and acetate. This process not only improves the overall bioavailability of GTC-derived metabolites but also enriches the biological activities of GTCs. Therefore, the intra- and inter-individual differences in human gut microbiota as well as the resulting biological contribution of microbial metabolites are crucial for the ultimate health benefits. In this review, the microbial degradation of major GTCs was characterized and an overview of the in vitro models used for GTC metabolism was summarized. The intra- and inter-individual differences of human gut microbiota composition and the resulting divergence in the metabolic patterns of GTCs were highlighted. Moreover, the potential beneficial effects of GTCs and their gut microbial metabolites were also discussed. Overall, the microbial metabolites of GTCs with higher bioavailability and bioactive potency are key factors for the observed beneficial effects of GTCs and green tea consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2023


  • beneficial effects
  • green tea catechins
  • gut microbiota
  • in vitro fermentation models
  • intra- and inter-individual differences
  • low-molecular-weight metabolites


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