Glucosides and Glycosides

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:

I guess I should clarify something that pops up every now and then in the articles on plant bioflavonoids; the terms glucoside and glycoside.

The term glucoside is to refer to a bioflavonoid being bound to glucose, in which the glucose molecule acts as a transport.

The term glycoside refers to any sugar. It can be lactose, fructose, glucose, whatever. Its a more generic term.

(And yes, glucosides are a subcategory of glycosides)

For a compound like Quercetin, that is just the bioflavonoid. However, something like Quercetin-3-O-glucoside is the same quercetin molecule but only bound to glucose.

The muscle building compound Cyanidin-3-Glucoside itself is a glucoside. The bioflavonoid is simply called Cyanidin.

This is important to note since food borne bioflavonoids are usually glucosides or glycosides. Supplements can be these, but could also be the isolated bioflavonoid.

In vitro studies need to be matched up with pharmacodynamic data. Its useless to known something like "Quercetin increases mitochondrial density" if the compound that exists in your cells is not quercetin, but quercetin-3-O-glucoside or quercetin-glucuronide (a P450 conjugation). The bioflavonoid bound to a transport may not have the same properties as the bioflavonoid itself, although this is highly dependent on which one we are talking about.

Food for thought.

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