What Is Quercetin?

Quercetin is a natural plant compound referred to as flavonoid.  Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients that are found in vegetables and fruits.  Flavonoids are the natural pigments that give plants their color.  It’s found in apples, raspberries, red grapes, cherries, citrus fruits, black tea, and leafy greens.  It is particularly high in onions and capers. 

How Can It Help The Body?

Quercetin acts as an anti-inflammatory, and it is especially helpful with joint pain.  It has been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders, help control blood sugar levels, and has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.  This phytochemical is also used as adjuvant in the treatment of bladder infection.  It helps boost immunity, fight allergies, and even aid in exercise performance.

Cancer Treatment

Several studies show that quercetin has high anticancer potential.  Not only does it have anti-cancer properties, such as cell signaling, growth suppression, but studies also show that it can be beneficial when combined with chemotherapy medication and radiotherapy.  Quercetin seems to act on chemosensitization and radiosensitization, but it also protects healthy cells from the side effects of chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy.  Therefore, it may have a beneficial role in anticancer treatment.

Free Radicals

Quercetin is also an important antioxidant that facilitates the body’s ability to combat free radicals.  Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cellular damage at high concentrations. These free radicals can lead to severe damage and ultimately chronic illnesses.  In animal models, quercetin has been shown to help preserve brain activity in degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

How To Increase Your Intake

It is important to get quercetin from the diet, as foods that are high in quercetin are also high in other beneficial nutrients, however, to reach therapeutic doses, this flavonoid is also available as a nutritional supplement in capsule and powder form.

Quercetin is taken orally; the recommended dose is 500mg twice a day for 12 weeks.  Taking bromelain and vitamin C can help the body absorb the flavanoid more efficiently.  Some side effects of increasing intake may include an upset stomach, headache, and a tingling sensation in the limbs.  While generally considered safe, high doses can lead to kidney damage.  

Everyone Needs It

 Whether you are a healthy child or adult it is important to get plenty of quercetin in your daily diet, however, for those suffering from serious conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease, it can be life-altering. If you decide that an uptake in dosage is important for you, be sure to work with a medical practitioner who can guide you on the quantities to consume, particularly during any cancer treatment program. 

Sources Cited:

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  2. Lesjak M, Beara I, Simin N, Pintać D, Majkić T, Bekvalac K, et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of quercetin and its derivatives. Journal of Functional Foods. 2018 Jan 1;40:68–75.
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