Consuming quercetin will help scavenge harmful free radicals that have been linked to chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It may also combat allergies, boost immunity, and promote general health. Let’s explore What Is Quercetin?

Quercetin is a type of flavonoid found in various foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. A flavonoid is a phytonutrient and a natural compound found in plants that offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits

chemical formula for quercetin

Health benefits of quercetin

1.   It may lower high blood pressure

High blood pressure refers to increased blood pressure against your arterial wall more than normal. This makes the heart work harder and may significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, taking quercetin may effectively lower blood pressure.

Furthermore, one meta-analysis showed that a daily intake of more than 500 mg of quercetin could lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5.8mmhg and 2.6mmhg, respectively.

2.   Fights chronic inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injuries and infections. It is necessary for your body to be able to respond to an attack and fight infections. However, chronic inflammation is the root cause of most chronic conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

Increased free radicals in the body are among the common causes of chronic inflammation, thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin that may help reduce inflammatory responses according to studies.

In one study, supplementing with 500 mg of quercetin daily reduced inflammatory markers and decreased after-activity pain, morning pain, and morning stiffness in women with rheumatoid arthritis.

3.   It may prevent cancer

The antioxidant properties of quercetin help neutralize free radicals in the body that may cause cell damage and mutations leading to cancer formation.

Quercetin is specifically high in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that may prevent cancer by inhibiting the growth and spread of tumor cells.

A study done in vitro indicated that quercetin might help in the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. Though studies have not been done on humans, it’s highly suggestive that it will be of significant help and is worth being studied.

4.   It may boost immunity

Different life habits such as poor sleep, high sugar, processed food, and chronic stress may put a strain on your immune system. And although identifying your triggers is the first step towards boosting your immunity, including a supplement like quercetin may come a long way.

Quercetin has inflammatory and antioxidant properties that work together to fight pathogens and increase the body’s defense mechanisms.

5.   Preventing neurological disorders

Quercetin has been reported to protect against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress that may cause degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and parkinsonism.

6.   Preventing infections

Quercetin has antibacterial properties and has been shown to fight against those linked to skin, gut, respiratory, and urinary infections.

When combined with other flavonoids, it may also fight against viral infections such as herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, and Japanese encephalitis.

7.   Combating seasonal allergies

Quercetin inhibits immune cells from releasing histamines, a chemical that causes allergic reactions. This may help reduce allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, and hives. It may also fight allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, and asthma.

8.   It may support cardiovascular health

Quercetin inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Though LDL is generally associated with heart-related conditions, oxidized LDL is the most dangerous form of LDL. It triggers inflammation, and it has increasingly been shown to contribute to vascular disease, heart disease, and stroke.

Additionally, it relaxes blood vessels and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, which is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart.

Foods High in Quercetin

Quercetin is present in various plant foods such as

1. Fruits

  • Red apples
  • Dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries
  • Grapes
  • Citrus fruits

2. Vegetables

  • Red and yellow onions ( contains the highest amounts in vegetables)
  • Shallots
  • Organically grown tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green and yellow bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

3. Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Pistachios

4. Grains

  • Rice
  • Buckwheat

5. Herbs

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • American elder
  • Nettle
  • St. John’s wort
  • Elderberry 
  • Moringa 

Quercetin Supplements

Besides the food sources, quercetin is also available as a supplement in powder form or capsule.

People may prefer supplements because they are more concentrated on the nutrient and may efficiently help boost the immune system, promote general health, and other benefits.

However, quercetin supplements are poorly absorbed. So the supplement should contain other nutrients such as vitamin C or digestive enzymes like bromelain (an enzyme extract from pineapple) to aid its absorption.

The daily recommended dose for quercetin supplements is 500 mg per day; however, a dose of up to 1000 mg daily is still allowed.

Risk and Side Effects

While quercetin-containing foods are always safe and beneficial, quercetin supplements have also generally been classified as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, high doses of 1000mg daily may cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, and tingling sensation in some individuals.

Quercetin may also interact with some medications. So ensure you seek professional advice if on any treatment before taking quercetin supplement.

Final Thoughts

Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant present in various plant foods and is also available as a supplement.

Regular intake has been shown to improve heart health, fight inflammation, prevent infections, protect the brain against neurological conditions, inhibit cancer cells, fight inflammation, and combat seasonal allergies.

The best food sources include various fruits and vegetables, some nuts and grains, teas, and red wine.

While you can meet all your needs through food, people still choose to take a supplement, which is still a good alternative unless one has underlying health conditions. Even in that case, you can still consult your doctor to see if a quercetin supplement is something you can safely take.

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