Quercetin helps to ward of life-threatening conditions, research reveals
(NaturalHealth365) Heart disease and cancer, currently the leading causes of death in the United States, together account for over 1.2 million deaths per year. But, a lesser known fact is that many researchers believe both diseases are primarily linked to oxidative stress, the main cause of disease. Fortunately, there are studies which show that quercetin – a plant flavonol – can help control oxidative damage and chronic inflammation, reducing the risk of these life-threatening health conditions.
In fact, researchers have found that quercetin helps to protect against a wide range of threats – including environmental toxins, bacterial infections and viruses.
People consuming high levels of quercetin have LOWER rates of heart disease
In one study, quercetin protected against the oxidative and inflammatory effects of a high-cholesterol diet, helping to remove cholesterol from arterial walls and dispelling the artery-clogging plaque that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
In addition, the flavonoid improves endothelial function, promotes the production of beneficial nitric oxide, relaxes arteries and reduces the tendency of blood platelets to form clots. As if that weren’t enough, quercetin helps to inhibit production of pro-inflammatory enzymes such as COX and 5-LOX.
Incidentally, this is the same mechanism used by many pharmaceutical NSAID medications. And scientists believe that quercetin boosts the function and promotes the growth of mitochondria, the all-important “power units” of the cells.
In addition to its heart-protective effects, quercetin seems to promote physical stamina. Studies have shown that a week of quercetin supplementation increased not only endurance – but, a greater ability to exercise without discomfort.
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People who took 500 mg a day of quercetin for a week increased the amount of time they were able to exercise before experiencing fatigue. Not only that, but muscle mitochondria increased by a significant 4 percent.
Activate the brain’s antioxidant defenses and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
While aging reduces mitochondrial activity in the brain – opening the door for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases – quercetin has been shown to promote mitochondrial function. In addition, quercetin increases important antioxidants in the brain, allowing them to neutralize the threat of free radicals that damage mitochondria and create chronic inflammation.
And quercetin provides yet another benefit to the brain – by reducing the toxicity of amyloid-beta proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Experts warn that these harmful proteins can accumulate in the brain, producing memory loss and dementia.
Finally, quercetin has been found to guard brain cells against excitotoxicity – the damage caused by repeated excitatory electrical impulses.
Reverse metabolic syndrome and avoid the threats of obesity
Metabolic syndrome – a cluster of unhealthy conditions that can include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat and elevated fats in the blood – can set the stage for heart disease. In fact, recent studies have shown that metabolic syndrome can raise the risk of sudden death from heart attack by a stunning 68 percent.
Quercetin fights metabolic syndrome in a variety of ways – suppressing fat accumulation in the liver, reducing obesity-associated inflammation, reducing the harmful oxidation of LDL cholesterol and helping to protect against damage caused by high blood sugar.
In animals given a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet (incidentally, the type of diet that could exacerbate metabolic syndrome) quercetin supplementation was associated with reduced abdominal fat, lower blood pressure and smaller deposits of fat in the liver and heart.
Again, human studies have backed up the encouraging data from animal studies.
In one study, participants who took 150 mg of quercetin a day for eight weeks decreased waist circumference while lowering after-meal triglycerides – thereby attacking metabolic syndrome on two fronts.
Quercetin helps to attack cancer cells
Scientists are currently exploring a non-toxic anticancer strategy known as “chemoprevention through nutrients” – reducing cancer risk through specific foods, vitamins and minerals – and quercetin is generating its fair share of buzz as a perfect candidate for this protocol.
Studies have shown that quercetin helps reduce risk of lung cancer by up to 51 percent – and, when applied to smokers, the number leaps to a 65 percent reduced risk. Other research has shown that quercetin reduces risk of cancers of the colon, stomach and liver, as well as cutting risk of hormone-dependent cancers of the breast, ovaries and prostate.
In light of quercetin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s not surprising that researchers are finding that this flavonoid has strong anticancer effects. Researchers also credit quercetin with protecting against cancer-causing DNA mutations – reducing cancer cell proliferation and causing apoptosis (or programmed suicide) in cancer cells.
In one notable study, a combination of quercetin and curcumin from turmeric slowed the growth of precancerous colon polyps.
Are you looking to breathe a little easier?
Quercetin shows promise at alleviating and reducing symptoms of food allergies, even in the case of potentially deadly peanut allergies. It also shows the potential to combat asthma in three different ways – by reducing amounts of inflammatory cells in the immune system, relaxing the muscles of the airway and cutting the production of histamine.
In one encouraging study, quercetin worked as well as prescription drugs – including cromolyn and various inhaled steroids – in promoting air flow and restoring the elasticity of lung tissue.
For those who take niacin to lower cholesterol levels, quercetin even works to reduce the discomfort and severity of the “flush,” a common niacin side effect manifested by flushing, tingling and itching. In one study, quercetin cut the duration and intensity of the flush in half.
For those who suffer from this annoying side effect – but still want the cholesterol-lowering effects of niacin – this is a substantial benefit.
How to naturally enhance immune function and lower your risk of dis-ease
As if the above benefits weren’t impressive enough, quercetin can also boost resistance to bacteria and viruses. Research has revealed better survival rates in animals that were supplemented with quercetin before and after being infected with influenza.
In one notable study, quercetin inhibited the replication of the influenza A virus more effectively than Tamiflu – the gold standard of pharmaceutical antiviral medications. This amazing substance has also been found to exhibit activity against H.pylori (the bacterium primarily responsible for stomach ulcers), hepatitis A and the common cold.
Combined with vitamin C, you can dramatically reduce the risk of cell damage
Quercetin is found in assorted fruits and vegetables, with onions, apples and red grapes containing the highest levels. Green tea and red wine are also potential sources, although we – at NaturalHealth365 – would not recommend alcohol as a “good source” for your antioxidants.
Quercetin is also available as a supplement, with integrative doctors typically suggesting amounts in the area of 500 mg a day. Before supplementing with quercetin, however, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best amount for you.
By the way, for maximum benefit: quercetin should be taken with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in its own right. In a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, participants were given 500 mg of quercetin and 250 mg of vitamin C daily for eight weeks.
Researchers reported that the combination was more effective at fighting inflammation and cell damage than either compound alone. In fact, the combination cut levels of inflammatory markers by up to 62 percent.
The takeaway is clear: If quercetin is visualized as an action hero, vanquishing disease-causing oxidative stress and pathogens wherever they may be found, then vitamin C – which renews quercetin and reinforces its antioxidant capacity – could be viewed as its loyal sidekick and partner.
It could be time to put this pair of non-toxic compounds to work for you – and perform a preemptive strike against chronic degenerative health issues.
Sources for this article include: