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Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

5 Proven Benefits of Quercetin: The Natural Compound You Need to Know About

Quercetin is a brightly-colored phytochemical with powerful antioxidant properties. Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in plants that contribute to their color, flavor, and aroma. You may know them better as flavonoids.

Flavonoids are the reason why colorful fruits and vegetables are so good for your health. These naturally-made chemicals help plants fight off harmful fungi, bacteria, and viruses. And by eating quercetin-rich plants, you can support your body’s ability to do the same!

Quercetin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. While many of its benefits are still undergoing research, the five proven benefits of quercetin definitely make this flavonoid an essential part of a healthy diet.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, promotes a whole-body approach to health that includes a balanced diet and powerful supplements (like quercetin). Keep reading for more information about quercetin, including benefits, quercetin-rich foods, and more!

5 Proven Benefits of Quercetin

Phytochemicals like quercetin may provide desired health benefits in humans beyond basic nutritional needs. Quercetin’s benefits range from preventing seasonal allergies to reducing high blood pressure. It can even reduce the risks associated with many chronic health issues. Keep reading for the five proven benefits of quercetin.
  1. Prevents and Relieves Allergies

Seasonal allergies are your immune system’s response to something in your environment. During an allergic reaction, your mast cells release histamines into the bloodstream. Your body responds by causing allergy symptoms like runny nose, swelling, and itching.

Quercetin prevents and relieves allergies by supporting mast cell stabilization. Mast cells are a type of white blood cell and a key player in your body’s inflammatory response. By stabilizing mast cells, quercetin provides some relief from seasonal allergies.

Colds and Flu

However, studies have found that quercetin is more effective at preventing allergies than relieving symptoms. Quercetin inhibits the production of leukotrienes which causes allergy symptoms to appear. But it might not stop allergy symptoms once leukotriene levels are raised.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends 1 capsule of quercetin (200-500 mg capsules are standard)  2 – 4 times daily to help with allergies. 

2. May Lower Cholesterol

Quercetin may also help lower cholesterol. While lab studies are still confirming quercetin as an effective treatment for cholesterol, a few promising studies show that this flavonoid reduces LDL cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is also known as “bad cholesterol” because an excess of these low-density lipids can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. People with a naturally high quercetin intake also typically have lower LDL cholesterol levels.

3. Anti-Aging Properties

Health Fruits - Orange

As you age, your cells gradually lose the ability to divide and grow. New cell growth is essential to many bodily functions, including healing from an injury and fighting off sickness. Abnormal cell division, when the cells don’t stop dividing, is a known cause of cancer.

Quercetin may ward off aging by acting as a senolytic compound. Senolytic compounds remove aging cells from the body and effectively reduce your risk of developing life-threatening diseases as you age, including cancer, osteoarthritis, and Alzheimers.

Quercetin also supports gene expression and methylation. Overall, quercetin is a powerful anti-aging tool.

4. Supports Your Immune System

Quercetin has many antiviral properties. At the start of a viral infection, quercetin can slow down the virus. It also inhibits the spread and decreases inflammation during an infection.

High ACE receptor expression can speed up the spread of a virus in your body. Quercetin prevents viral compounds from binding to ACE receptors to limit the reach of the infection.

It also acts as a zinc ionophore, which means that it helps your body absorb zinc. Zinc deficiencies increase your risk of developing viral infections.

5. May Lower Blood Pressure

Studies are still trying to prove the link between quercetin and blood pressure, but a few promising studies do show that quercetin may help reduce blood pressure.

People with high blood pressure benefit from a high quercetin intake. One 2022 study on the results of quercetin on systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) revealed that the compound lowers SBP in normotensives and DBP in (pre)hypertensives. 

In general, quercetin is thought to support a healthy cardiovascular system. However, taking quercetin with high blood pressure medications can cause your blood pressure to drop too low. Always consult with a doctor before adding to your current treatment.

Natural Sources of Quercetin

You probably already eat some quercetin-rich foods. This phytochemical is present in large quantities in kale, citrus, onions, buckwheat, apples, olive oil, dark cherries, parsley, and berries. Many of these fruits and vegetables are considered superfoods because of the high concentration of quercetin. 

Quercetin is absorbed best when it comes directly from your diet. However, you can take supplements if you are struggling to increase the amount in your diet. 

Since quercetin is not water-soluble, your body may find it difficult to absorb it without a little help. Quercetin is lipophilic, so healthy fats help with bioavailability. Vitamin C also helps you absorb quercetin.

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

The benefits of quercetin are one of the advantages of a healthy, balanced diet. Supplementation may boost your levels, but it doesn’t negate the need for fruits and vegetables. Consider adding quercetin-rich foods to your daily diet to support a healthier body and mind.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, recommends quercetin doses at 250 mg once or twice daily – up to four times for people with MCAS. If you want personalized recommendations based on your diet or health needs, contact Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine to schedule an appointment today!

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Dr. Amy Reidhead

Dr. Reidhead is a double board certified Chiropractic Physician and Family Nurse Practitioner. She is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture and holds a Bachelor of Science in both Nursing and Human Biology. She has spent the past 25 years honing her skills as a functional and integrative medical provider in Boulder, Colorado.