What is Quercetin?
What do blueberries, red wine and kale all have in common? They all contain quercetin, a natural plant compound that offers benefits essential for longevity, healthy hearts, strong immune systems and so much more.
You’ve probably heard the exhortation to ‘eat the rainbow,’ meaning that you should consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. You can thank flavonoids for making it easy to spot the superfoods that are brimming with healthful compounds. Flavonoids belong to a class of plant chemicals called polyphenols. Besides giving a plant its color, polyphenols also help to protect it against various threats. When we eat plants, we get the same benefits as the plant.
Heart disease is the top killer of both men and women in the United States and many other countries around the world. About one-quarter of all deaths in the U.S. are due to heart disease. This translates to roughly 610,000 people each year. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin dihydrate, however, may help prevent cardiovascular diseases. It may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by protecting the arteries from damage by free radicals, as well as improve the quality of the arterial walls.
A whopping 25 percent of all cancer deaths are due to lung cancer. However, studies show that a quercetin supplement may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.
Another possible advantage of quercetin is its ability to fight colds. It may also fight against the development of colds and other upper respiratory infections following intensive exercise.
A third positive respiratory effect of quercetin is in soothing allergy symptoms. Itching, sneezing, a stuffy, runny nose and congestion can make allergy sufferers miserable, but quercetin has been shown to alleviate many allergy symptoms in various studies.
Cholesterol gets a bad rap, but it’s part of every cell in your body. It’s a wax-like substance that is made in the liver and is used to make things like hormones and bile. In fact, your organs and brain need it to function properly. Doctors and scientists now recognize that there are different types of cholesterol and some are better to have than others, but what’s important to remember is that some cholesterol is necessary for good health. Of course, too much has been associated with many serious problems from heart disease to Alzheimer’s to stroke.
Quercetin has shown promise in early research for lowering total cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. It has also been linked to decreased amounts of inflammatory proteins that lead to hardening of the arteries. Human studies have delivered similar improvements, with lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and increased HDL (‘good’) cholesterol.
Finding the fountain of youth has long been a goal of the human race. While quercetin is no magic bullet, it is something simple you can take to help live a longer, healthier life. A large study over 25 years found that men who ate flavonoids like quercetin significantly increased longevity. Research suggests that flavonoids may have up to a 25 percent influence over risk factors such as cancer and coronary heart disease.
There are many great aspects about living in the modern age, but a sedentary lifestyle isn’t one of them. Sitting around too much leads to a sluggish metabolism. A supplement of quercetin can help rev up your metabolism in a number of ways. While human studies are still necessary, animal research showed that a quercetin supplement helped subjects to lose weight without making any changes to diets.
Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities also help you lose weight. Many obese people have chronic low-grade inflammation, and quercetin has been shown to calm the inflammatory response. It also fires up your fat burners, inhibits fat storage and gets your metabolism moving again. Researchers have studied the effects of several flavonoids on weight and found that participants who took quercetin typically lost the most weight.
Protection from Diabetes
About 10 percent of people worldwide suffer from some form of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Millions die from CKD each year. Fibrosis is a condition in which there is an excess growth of fibers resulting in thickening of tissue. Fibrosis happens with more or less all kidney diseases, but quercetin has been shown in studies to reduce the amount of fibrosis and improve healing of the kidneys.
In another study, a combination of quercetin and curcumin along with anti-rejection medication revealed improved kidney functioning following transplants.
Quercetin Side Effects
Extremely high doses may damage the kidneys.
Because it uses the same receptors as antibiotics, quercetin may interfere with the absorption and effect of these drugs. Quercetin has also been shown to interfere with the action of a breast cancer medicine called Taxol. If you’re taking any medications, it’s best to talk to your doctor before adding a quercetin dihydrate supplement to your diet.
Due to its color (bright yellow), it can stain like turmeric, so take caution not to spill it.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before adding a quercetin supplement to your health regimen.
The Bottom Line
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help reduce your risk of serious illness such as cancer and heart disease. It can potentially alleviate more ordinary complaints like the common cold and allergy symptoms. Used in moderation, it can possibly improve your day-to-day life, as well as increase your longevity.