Hippuric acid has been a major human metabolite for years. However, there is no well-known documented health benefit associated with it except for excretion of environmental-toxic exposures of aromatic compounds such as toluene, or from dietary protein degradation and re-synthesis by intestinal microflora metabolism of quinic acid via the shikimate pathway. Thus hippuric acid can appear in humans as an excretory product from natural or unnatural sources. It has been believed over the years that the major source of urinary hippuric acid levels in humans has come from environmental toxic solvent exposures. However, more recently it was been shown that approximately 1-2 mM hippuric acid is excreted daily in the urine, even in the absence of organic solvent exposure, signalling abundant metabolic dietary sources of hippuric acid are also apparent. One of these has been dietary proteins. The other is from the well-documented presence of quinic acid in healthy colored foodstuffs. Quinic acid is a key metabolite associated with the shikimate pathway existing only in plants, and it is responsible for essental amino acid biosynthesis such as tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine. Here we review the evidence that the human gastrointestinal tract microflora are responsible for quinic acid metabolism not only to hippuric acid, but more importantly to efficacious antioxidant amino acids and vitamins.
Keywords: Hippuric acid, quinic acid, tryptophan, nicotinamide, antioxidant metabolism
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport