Matcha’s Antioxidants and Bioavailability: CAP-e Test

April 17th, 2013


If you’re familiar with Matcha, you may already know that it contains a high amount of antioxidants. Matcha is known to contain one of the highest amounts of antioxidants in comparison to other super foods, measured by the ORAC test*. But how do we know if all of these antioxidants are actually absorbed by the body? For this blog post, we would like to focus on the bioavailability – the actual amount of an ingested supplement or food that is absorbed by the body – of antioxidants in Matcha.

To give an example of bioavailability, imagine taking a multivitamin that contains 100% of your daily recommended value of vitamin C. The vitamin C would be useless if only a small percentage of it is absorbed by the body. Unfortunately, the ORAC test does not measure whether the antioxidants in a product have true bioavailability. However, a relatively new test called CAP-e (cellular antioxidant protection in erythrocytes) assay is able to measure the bioavailability of antioxidants.

Developed by the NIS Labs, the CAP-e test is performed by mixing the test subject in a solvent (such as water) and adding aged red blood cells to the mixed solution. A free radical is then added to the mixture to start the oxidation process. Shortly after, the red blood cells are measured for oxidation damage.

After having our Ceremonial Matcha measured with the CAP-e test, we are happy to have found that it has true bioavailability, meaning that all of the antioxidants in the Matcha are absorbed by the body.  The results showed our Ceremonial Matcha to have 24 CAP-e units per gram. To give you an idea, blueberries only have 0.35 CAP-e units per gram, making the antioxidants in our Matcha to be around 68 times more effective. For further context, let’s compare one serving of Matcha (2g) to one serving of blueberries (120g), since we understand that no one eats just one gram of blueberries. Just one serving of Matcha contains a whopping 48 CAP-e units (2g x 24 CAP-e), compared to 42 CAP-e units for an entire serving of blueberries (120g x 0.35 CAP-e).

The top graph below illustrates the CAP-e units on a per gram basis, and the bottom graph illustrates the CAP-e units on a per serving basis.

The ORAC and CAP-e tests have both shown the superiority of Matcha’s antioxidants compared to other super foods. We are happy to see that Matcha not only tastes great, but that it has earned the title of a true super food.

*ORAC test, or the Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, is a chemical text that measures the amount of antioxidants that a product contains.

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