(NaturalHealth365) There’s no doubt about it: scientific studies on quercetin have generated an undeniable “buzz” among mainstream and natural healers alike – and the excitement centers around the natural compound’s healing properties. A flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, quercetin is being credited with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – as well as the ability to combat such life-threatening conditions as heart disease and cancer.
In fact, a study shows that another disease-fighting nutrient – vitamin C – works in tandem with quercetin to suppress inflammation and decrease cellular damage. Let’s take a closer look at this ‘dynamic duo.’
Combining nutrients to minimize the threat of chronic inflammation
Quercetin has been shown to inhibit the body’s production of pro-inflammatory chemicals – and several studies have highlighted its ability to reduce inflammatory markers and alleviate arthritis pain.
Now, research shows that the flavonoid’s anti-inflammatory powers can be further enhanced.
In a study published in Journal of Research in Medical Science, researchers found that quercetin and vitamin C together were more effective against inflammation than either nutrient alone.
To conduct the study, the team divided a group of 60 healthy young men into four groups. For four weeks, one group was given 500 mg of quercetin along with 250 mg of vitamin C. One group was given only quercetin, one given only vitamin C, and one given a placebo.
The team found that the “combination” group had the greatest reduction (49 percent) in levels of an inflammatory marker known as C-reactive protein. Keep in mind, elevated levels of CRP are associated with heart disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Even more significant was the dramatic 62 percent decrease in interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, in the combination group. In contrast, the placebo group – who were given neither quercetin nor vitamin C – unaccountably experienced a 47 percent increase in IL-6.
Researchers believe that the combination of vitamin C and quercetin is particularly effective because vitamin C regenerates quercetin and preserves its antioxidant qualities.
Quercetin inhibits the growth of cancer cells
Scientists already know that a diet high in quercetin and vitamin C lowers cancer risk.
Quercetin suppresses cancer cell proliferation, promotes cancer cell apoptosis (programmed death) and mitigates DNA damage. In addition, it has been shown to prevent or slow tumor development in cancers of the brain, liver and colon.
In a study conducted at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, researchers evaluated the effects of a mixture of quercetin and curcumin on precancerous colonic tumors. After six months, the team found the size of the tumors was reduced by 60 percent, and the number by 51 percent – all without adverse effects.
High-dose intravenous vitamin C, combined with conventional cancer treatment, can lead to better survival outcomes for people suffering from glioblastoma – a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.
Perhaps adding quercetin to the mix could result in even more impressive results!
Quercetin combats heart disease through multiple methods of action
Epidemiological studies show that a diet rich in flavonoids – including quercetin, anthocyanins and catechins – is associated with lower mortality from coronary heart disease.
Quercetin targets atherosclerosis by reducing the “stickiness” of platelets, making them less likely to form into clumps that could obstruct fragile arteries. It also lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and helps to relax arteries, reducing stiffness and brittleness.
Studies have shown that quercetin has an intriguing method of action on arteries, bypassing healthy areas and proceeding directly to damaged and inflamed sections – it’s almost as if the flavonoid is acting as a biological “first responder!”
Quercetin also fights high blood pressure and high blood sugar – a “double whammy” of unhealthful conditions that can trigger heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Furthermore, quercetin acts against obesity by inhibiting the accumulation of fat cells and helping to decrease adipose tissue volume. In other words, it reduces the bulk of body fat and promotes weight loss – thereby lowering risk factors for heart disease.
In a promising animal study, high-dose quercetin supplementation was associated with reduced weight gain in obese, insulin-resistant mice. And, a combination of quercetin and two other flavonoids decreased lipid accumulation in human fat cells by an amazing 80 percent!
Boost quercetin intake with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
Most Americans ingest a paltry 5 mg to 40 mg of quercetin a day – although those eating a nutritious, optimal diet rich in plant foods have been found to obtain amounts in the area of 500 mg a day (a much more desirable level)!
You can increase your dietary intake of quercetin by consuming healthy amounts of apples, onions, peppers, citrus fruits, grapes, green and black tea and cocoa. Of course, always opt for food that is fresh (local – as much as possible), organic (free of unwanted pesticides) and non-GMO.
Lest there be any doubt that organic foods are a superior source of quercetin: a study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organic tomatoes contained a stunning 70 percent more quercetin than conventionally-grown samples.
Quercetin is available as a supplement, with natural health experts typically recommending 50 mg to 500 mg of quercetin one to three times a day. Just remember, for maximum benefit and bioavailability, take it along with vitamin C.
Of course, check with your integrative doctor before adding any supplements to your daily health routine.
The takeaway is clear: quercetin with vitamin C appears to be a “winning combination” that can provide a jackpot of health benefits.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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