Quercetin and its relevant health benefits

Published: 21-Sep-2020

Known as a potent antioxidant, quercetin has shown the ability to prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by reacting itself with free radicals. The oxidation of LDL result in the formation of clots and plaques which cause cardiovascular disease

There is increased interest among such diverse consumer groups as athletes, military and millennials for novel plant-derived dietary supplements to enhance performance and improve health. Medicinal plants play a vital function in exhibiting beneficial effects and employed as an alternative source of medicine to mitigate a wide assortment of diseases and health conditions. Plant-derived flavonoids have attracted interest from both pharmaceutical and nutritional supplements companies for its proven health benefits. Flavonoids possess wide spectrum of biological activities that might be able to influence processes which are disrupted in a disease.

The biosynthesis of phytochemicals, like flavonoids, is a defensive response of plants to their environment. Flavonoids often function as protection from ultraviolet sunlight and lipid peroxidation.

Quercetin is one of these high-profile flavonoids of the polyphenol group, extracted from different plant sources, mostly found in onions, grapes, berries, cherries, broccoli, teas and citrus fruits. Cultivated commercially in Brazil, fava d’anta (Dimorphandra mollis) is a prolific and economically viable source of quercetin.

Quercetin as a potent antioxidant

Our body cells are constantly under attack of reactive molecules - known as free radicals - which causes damages by oxidative stress. Over time, such damages reflect accelerated aging and cause a diversity of health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, cancer, and stroke. Thus, antioxidant supplementation is needed to counteract the negative effects of naturally occurring and ambient-induced free radicals. This is where the potent antioxidative actions of quercetin comes into play.

Known as a potent antioxidant, quercetin has shown the ability to prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by reacting itself with free radicals. The oxidation of LDL result in the formation of clots and plaques which cause cardiovascular disease.

A similar condition takes place in our brain tissues as brain lipid membranes are subject to oxidation, leading to accumulation of amyloid peptides which cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory functions

Inflammation is another condition which can be reduced by free radical scavenging properties of quercetin. Free radicals can activate transcription factors that generate pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are often found elevated in patients that suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions such as prostatitis, constant body pain, myalgia, insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. It could also potentially prove useful to cells involved in allergic inflammation.

Quercetin fights off allergies

Talking of allergies, many studies have shown that quercetin is effective at inhibiting the release of histamine by stabilizing the membranes of mast cells. The intake of quercetin supplements has been proven effective at reducing sneezing and nasal rubbing movements in allergic rhinitis conditions.

Quercetin against obesity

On another different front, research suggested that quercetin has an interesting potential in obesity reduction by blocking adipogenesis (creation of fat cells) and inducing apoptosis of mature adipocytes (death of fat cells). Other authors have shown the role of quercetin in the regulation of lipid metabolism. Experiments with mice fed with high fat diet show that quercetin acted to reduce obesity, liver weight and the amount of total white adipose tissue.

Quercetin and type II diabetes

Additional studies have been conducted on effects of quercetin in animals with type 2 diabetes. Those that received quercetin showed lower glucose plasma levels relative to the control group and do not experience increase or decrease in insulin measured by the homeostasis model. Animals that received quercetin showed a variety of other improvements including an increase in plasma adiponectin and HDL-cholesterol, decreases in plasma total cholesterol and plasma triacylglycerols, and increases in specific liver enzymes activities important in the detoxification processes. For humans, quercetin has shown to help decrease the seriousness of numbness, jolting pain, and irritation for patients with type 2 diabetes neuropathy. It has further been shown that active treatment with quercetin can improve various quality-of-life matrices.

Quercetin is safe and effective

Quercetin is safely marketed as a dietary supplement, mostly as glucosides, which show higher absorption rates than its isolated aglucone form, and frequently in daily doses of up to 1000 mg d-1. Among the numerous published human intervention studies, adverse effects following supplemental quercetin intake have been rarely reported and any such effects were mild in nature.

Undoubtful conclusions can be drawn about the many important health benefits of quercetin. As a leader in quercetin supply to the nutritional supplements industry, CAIF is ready to assist you.

CAIF is one of the main suppliers of quercetin in North America, with natural extracts containing 98% of quercetin and local inventory to better serve the nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical industries.

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