Quercetin is a powerful flavonoid molecule found in many vegetables, fruits, and grains. It has a wide range of potential health benefits. Here are some ways in which this flavanoid may be beneficial to your health and wellness.
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Quercetin has a large body of research surrounding its anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to prevent and manage many chronic conditions that can occur with age such as diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Test tube studies found that quercetin successfully blocked several inflammatory markers like interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor.
Another study investigating the use of quercetin in women with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis, found that women who took 500 mg of quercetin had improvement in joint pain and stiffness as well as a reduction in several inflammatory markers as well.
2. Antioxidant Function
Quercetin is also proving itself to be a potent antioxidant. This means that quercetin protects healthy cells from oxidative damage from free radicals in the body. Because of this mechanism of action, antioxidants likely play a large role in cancer prevention.
Several studies have shown quercetin may suppress cancer growth in animals and even cause cell death in prostate cancer. Other studies have shown benefits for breast, colon, and ovarian cancer. Further human studies are needed to solidify a firm recommendation for the use of quercetin in oncology, however.
3. Cardiovascular Health
Quercetin has been shown to help with heart health. It is now linked to healthy blood pressure and circulation and may even help lower “bad” cholesterol—commonly called “LDL”—which is directly tied to heart disease risk.
4. Immune Support
Quercetin can even be immune boosting. It has been shown to enhance immune function by directly modulating several chemicals involved in the immune and inflammatory pathways. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults since the immune system weakens with age.
5. Cognitive Health
There are some studies that show quercetin may protect the nervous system, thereby decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative disease and optimizing cognitive function. This may be related to its ability to protect the brain from oxidative damage which helps promote overall brain health and memory function.
Studies in mice with Alzheimer’s show that regular quercetin injections improved learning capability in test subjects.
6. Exercise Benefits
Quercetin may even help you achieve a better workout. In a review of human studies, quercetin was found to potentially improve exercise performance by increasing stamina and oxygen utilization while improving muscle recovery and fatigue.
7. Skin Benefits
As we age, skin tends to lose collagen and elasticity, leading to wrinkles and loose skin. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin may help slow the appearance of skin aging by protecting against UV damage and reducing overall inflammation. It may also help promote collagen synthesis which helps skin retain its elasticity despite aging.
While quercetin has a number of health benefits, it is not a singular solution to health and wellness. Increasing your consumption of this powerful flavonoid may likely improve your overall health, but it should be considered a part of an overall healthy lifestyle. At the direction of your physician, you may consider a quercetin supplement as well.
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Tana Bao, BSN, MSN, APRN, NP
Tana is a family nurse practitioner dual board board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (NP-C) as well as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (FNP-BC).