(NaturalHealth365) According to the National Cancer Institute, over 1.6 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2016. And the agency notes that the risk of an individual developing cancer at some point in his or her lifetime is currently a stunning 39 percent. Today, we’ll focus our attention on quercetin and talk about things you NEVER hear within conventional oncology.
While researchers race to find innovative methods of cancer prevention and treatment, one plant-based compound is showing potential as an important weapon for dramatically lowering those odds – and prolonging the quality of our lives.
Quercetin – one of the most potent natural antioxidants on the planet
Quercetin, the same substance that protects plants from harsh climates and environmental toxins, is a flavonoid – a type of natural pigment that gives color to fruits and vegetables. When ingested through diet or taken as a supplement, quercetin’s cell-protective properties can benefit all of us.
Quercetin is not only a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect against harmful oxidation in the body; it is also an anti-inflammatory and immune system enhancer.
Researchers believe it may have anti-aging effects as well. Laboratory studies with human cells, as well as with simple animals such as primitive worms, support quercetin’s ability to boost lifespan – up to an amazing 60 percent. This promising result has spurred further research into quercetin’s effects on longevity, with studies currently ongoing.
Quercetin consumption slashes lung cancer risk
Researchers have long known that people who incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diets tend to have a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Recent research suggests that much of the credit for this chemopreventive effect belongs to quercetin.
In a study published in 2010 in Carcinogenesis, participants with diets high in quercetin-rich foods had a substantial 51 percent lower overall risk of dying from lung cancer; heavy smokers cut their risk by 65 percent. Researchers noted that quercetin interferes with the formation of early lung cancer lesions, prevents malignant development and promotes apoptosis – or programmed cell death of cancer cells.
In a study published in 2007 in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, rats who had been given quercetin were then exposed to benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogenic environmental toxin found in diesel exhaust and cigarette smoke. While the control group developed lung cancers, no tumors were found in the quercetin-treated rats – an impressive testament to quercetin’s chemoprotective effects.
Quercetin reduces risk of colon, stomach and liver cancer
Additional research supports quercetin’s chemoprotective effects on various types of cancer. The phytochemical was shown to cause a 32 percent reduction in colon cancer deaths, while decreasing the number and size of precancerous lesions.
In yet another study, quercetin caused a 43 percent reduction in deaths from stomach cancer. As with the lung cancer study, smokers gained additional protection – female smokers cut their risk by an astonishing 80 percent.
In other research, quercetin demonstrated multiple methods of action against liver cancer, inhibiting the cancer cells’ replicative cycle and blocking damage to DNA of healthy cells. It also increased liver production of protective antioxidant proteins and enzymes, thereby assisting in the detoxification of cancer-causing environmental toxins.
Finally, a study published in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology in 2011 confirmed that quercetin increased the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, in inhibiting the invasive properties of breast cancer cells.
How can I use quercetin for protection against cancer?
Quercetin is found in abundant amounts in grape skins, red onions, tomatoes, apples, red wine and all citrus fruits. Green tea is a particularly good source of quercetin, and researchers say that quercetin increases the effects of green tea’s antioxidant catechins. You can also look to dark-colored berries, such as blackberries and blueberries, for a rich supply of quercetin.
There is currently no recommended dietary amount of quercetin; but, most Americans tend to only consume no more than 30 mg a day. And, if you want quercetin to be part of your cancer prevention strategies, that’s simply not enough.
In some studies, quercetin was obtained simply through diet; other research used supplementary quercetin. If you prefer to supplement, quercetin is available in pill, capsule and liposomal form.
Many natural health experts recommend a few hundred mg per day for protective effect – with dosage depending on individual circumstances. Quercetin is considered generally safe, and there are no reported negative side effects.
However, this flavonoid can interact with certain medications, including antibiotics, blood thinners, immune suppressants and corticosteroids. Of course, as always for best results, consult a trusted (experienced) healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or supplement routine.
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