What Is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a type of powerful flavonoid which is mostly found in plant foods that possess a lot of health benefits. The plants which contain this flavonoid are tomatoes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and berries. Quercetin has innumerable health benefits. It can reduce the risk of heart-related diseases, help manage diabetes, reduce inflammation in any part of the body, normalize blood pressure, and promote a better immune system. Quercetin is known as a flavonoid, which means that it is a plant pigment. This is exactly the reason why quercetin is mostly found in deep colored and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. It is also considered to be one of the most abundant antioxidants found in the diet.
Though quercetin is abundantly found in fruits and vegetables, some people prefer to opt for a supplement that contains strong, anti-inflammatory properties to fight against diseases. Quercetin is also used as a coloring agent in various types of teas and wines.
Flavonoids, which include quercetin, are considered to be important anti-inflammatories since they act as antioxidants. This would mean that such flavonoids fight off the natural oxidation process which takes place in our bodies over time as we age. Quercetin is known to stop damaging of any particles in the body which are known as free radicals. These radicals tend to negatively impact the function of the cells.
Inflammation is often considered the cause of most diseases in humans, such as autoimmune disorders, heart-related problems, mental disorders or depression, cognitive decline, and many others. Many patients and practitioners have reported the successful use of quercetin to fight various conditions caused by inflammation. Some of these conditions include gout, high levels of cholesterol, stomach ulcers, cataracts or eye-related problems, viral infections, dermatitis, hives or other skin-related conditions, allergies, atherosclerosis, problems related to circulation, heart problems, hay fever, diabetes, asthma, cancer and inflammation of the ovaries, prostate, and bladder.
Keeps allergies at bay: Quercetin is known as a natural antihistamine and possesses anti-inflammatory properties; thus, it can prove effective in naturally reducing the symptoms of allergies or seasonal allergies, including skin reactions and asthma. Histamines are chemicals which are released in the body when the immune system identifies that there is a problem or sensitivity towards an allergen. These chemicals or histamines lead to the annoying symptoms one experiences whenever an allergic reaction occurs. Quercetin is known to stabilize the histamine from the immune cells, which reduces symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itching or watery eyes, and swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
Maintains heart health: Quercetin is well known for both reducing inflammation and lowering oxidative stress. Thus, it is beneficial for those suffering from heart-related medical conditions. Patients suffering from such conditions are recommended to include a lot of dark colored fruits and vegetables in their diet. This dietary improvement can help reduce the risk of heart-related problems or even death in certain cases. There are also multiple flavonoids which, according to research, are known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which is a dangerous condition directly linked with the heart. It increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.The antioxidants present in quercetin are also known to protect the body from bad cholesterol and help regulate blood pressure levels. According to certain studies, quercetin can also prevent damage to LDL cholesterol particles. Additionally, lower levels of cholesterol and better heart health have been observed in those who regularly consume foods rich in flavonoid. A glass of red wine can do wonders for the heart, since red wine is known to be a natural source of quercetin.
Provides relief from Pain: Taking a quercetin supplement can help relieve pain associated with autoimmune conditions, like arthritis. Additionally, it can also reduce pain that is present with certain infections, such as respiratory tract or prostate infections. Some studies have even found evidence that quercetin can help reduce the symptoms of bladder infections. Flavonoids are also found to reduce symptoms of prostatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
May help improve endurance: Quercetin is often added in certain fitness supplements because it is believed to help increase athletic endurance and performance. Research conducted on quercetin found that the flavonoid provides statistically significant benefits in exercise compacity and human endurance. Antioxidants such as quercetin help increase the overall health of blood vessels, which carry nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and joint tissue; thus, boosting physical performance. Other studies have found that quercetin also helps increase immune function; thus, it prevents individuals from being susceptible to illnesses that often occur when training too intensely and exhausting the body.
May help fight cancer: Certain studies have found that individuals who follow a nutrient-dense diet rich in quercetin and other antioxidants can potentially lower the risk of cancer. Quercetin appears to have possible chemo-preventive activity and may possess a unique antiproliferative effect on cells that are cancerous, making it a useful addition to the natural cancer treatment approach. Researchers believe that quercetin’s ability to prevent cancer results from the modulation of either estrogen or EGFR pathways. Flavonoids can help cease the processes that are involved in tumor growth, cell mutation, and symptoms related to cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation. Currently, research on the effects of quercetin involves primarily animals; thus, more research must be conducted to reveal quercetin’s effects on cancerous cells in humans.
Provides healthy skin: Quercetin blocks “mast cells,” which are immune cells that are critical in triggering inflammatory disease, allergic reactions, and autoimmune disease. It helps protect skin from the effects of photosensitivity and dermatitis. Flavonoids such as quercetin are known to block the release of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines, like TNF and IL-8, which helps stop the symptoms related to skin inflammation.
Protects the brain cells: Quercetin acts as a powerful antioxidant that can protect brain cells from oxidative stress. It protects the brain from toxicity that is associated with D-galactose. Quercetin, and flavonoids like it, inhibit pro-inflammatory molecules that are associated with numerous progressive brain disorders. Some of these disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, bacterial and viral meningitis, stroke, and AIDS dementia complex.
Helps leaky gut syndrome: Studies have shown that chronic stress can cause mast cells present in the gut to become unstable, which leads to leaky gut syndrome. Since quercetin stabilizes mast cells, it can prevent the development of this condition.
Antibacterial: Quercetin is known to exert antibacterial activity against certain types of staphylococcus infections, including antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Additionally, this flavonoid also inhibits the growth of various oral bacteria. Thus, it could be a useful treatment for gum infections, dental cavities, and oral mucosa infectious diseases. Quercetin inhibits DNA gyrase, which is an important enzyme involved in DNA unfolding.
Sources of Quercetin
A variety of red, purple, and green pigmented plants are loaded with quercetin. Some good sources of quercetin include:
- Red wine
- Green tea
- Leafy greens
- Dark cherries
- Olive oil
- Black tea
The dosage requirement of quercetin depends on the individual, their health condition, and if they are undergoing any treatment. 40mg per day is the most common dose of quercetin. There have not been any optimal doses of quercetin recommended by the FDA. Doctors often suggest the proper dosage based on the patient’s needs.
In slightly elevated doses, quercetin can cause minor side effects such as headache or tingling sensation in the legs and hands. In higher doses, it can result in kidney damage; however, this is very rare. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor on the dosage of quercetin that’s right for you. The safest way to intake quercetin is by consuming foods rich in the flavonoid.