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Chemical structure of urolithin A.

Urolithins are microflora metabolites of dietary ellagic acid derivatives, such as ellagitannins.[1] They are produced in the gut, and found in the urine in the form of urolithin B glucuronide after absorption of ellagitannins-containing foods, such as pomegranate.[2] During intestinal metabolism by bacteria, ellagitannins and punicalagins are converted to urolithins, which have unknown biological activity in vivo.[medical citation needed]

Ellagitannins exhibit low bioavailability and are transformed in the gut to ellagic acid and its microbiota metabolites.[medical citation needed] Urolithins are found in plasma mostly as glucuronides at low concentrations.[3] Urolithins production is dependent on the gut microbiome enterotype. Individuals producing urolithins show a much higher abundance of the Clostridium leptum group of Firmicutes phylum than Bacteroides or Prevotella.[medical citation needed][4]

Known molecules[edit]

catabolic intermediates:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Larrosa, M; González-Sarrías, A; García-Conesa, MT; Tomás-Barberán, FA; Espín, JC (2006). "Urolithins, ellagic acid-derived metabolites produced by human colonic microflora, exhibit estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 54 (5): 1611–1620. doi:10.1021/jf0527403. PMID 16506809.
  2. ^ Bialonska D, Kasimsetty SG, Khan SI, Ferreira D (11 November 2009). "Urolithins, intestinal microbial metabolites of Pomegranate ellagitannins, exhibit potent antioxidant activity in a cell-based assay". J Agric Food Chem. 57 (21): 10181–6. doi:10.1021/jf9025794. PMID 19824638.
  3. ^ Giménez-Bastida, Juan A.; González-Sarrías, Antonio; Larrosa, Mar; Tomás-Barberán, Francisco; Espín, Juan C.; García-Conesa, María-Teresa (2012). "Ellagitannin metabolites, urolithin a glucuronide and its aglycone urolithin A, ameliorate TNF-α-induced inflammation and associated molecular markers in human aortic endothelial cells". Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 56 (5): 784–796. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201100677. PMID 22648625.
  4. ^ García-Villalba, Rocío; Beltrán, David; Espín, Juan Carlos; Selma, María Victoria; Tomás-Barberán, Francisco A. (2013). "Time Course Production of Urolithins from Ellagic Acid by Human Gut Microbiota". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 61 (37): 8797–8806. doi:10.1021/jf402498b. PMID 23984796.