Quercetin lowers your blood pressure. It belongs to a family of “Super-Foods”. So what makes a “super-food” super? Or what key super-foods like red wine, green tea, kale and blueberries all have in common? The answer is quercetin, a natural compound tied to what all of us seek: better longevity, heart health, endurance, immune system and more.
What Is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a plant pigment found in many foods such as onions, apples, berries, tea, grapes, and red wine. It’s not a nutrient but is classified as a flavonoid. Once thought to be vitamins, flavonoids were given such names as vitamin P and vitamin C2. Like many other plant chemicals, it is sold as a supplement. Oral quercetin is relatively well absorbed, and it is metabolized mainly to isorhamnetin, tamarixetin and kaempferol.
Flavonoids, such as quercetin, are antioxidants. They scavenge particles in the body known as free radicals which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals. They may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage free radicals cause. In test tubes, quercetin has strong antioxidant properties. But researchers are not sure whether taking quercetin (and many other antioxidants) has the same effects inside the body.
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Quercetin may help protect against heart disease and cancer. Quercetin can also help stabilize the cells that release histamine in the body and thereby have an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effect.
What Are Free Radical?
Free radicals may be formed through natural human physiological processes as well as from the environment. They may be the result of diet, stress, smoking, alcohol, exercise, inflammation, drugs or exposure to sunlight and air pollutants. While there are many types of free radicals that can be formed, the most common in aerobic (oxygen breathing) organisms are oxygen free radicals, often referred to as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which include superoxides, hydroxyl anions, hydrogen peroxide and singlet oxygen.
A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals may form spontaneously or they may be the result of exposure to heat, light or something in the environment. Sometimes the body’s immune system creates them on purpose to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
How Does Quercetin Help?
Research now shows us that inflammation is the root of most diseases, including heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, some mental disorders, and autoimmune disorders. The most well-researched effects of quercetin on fighting inflammation have been found in foods (especially fruits and veggies) that naturally supply flavonoids and other polyphenols, so we still have more to learn about the long-term effects of taking antioxidant supplements to lower inflammatory diseases.
At this time, practitioners and patients report using quercetin to effectively fight conditions related to inflammation, including (6):
hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
heart disease and circulation problems
insulin resistance and diabetes
eye-related disorders, including cataracts
allergies, asthma and hay fever
inflammation of the prostate, bladder and ovaries
chronic fatigue syndrome
chronic infections of the prostate
skin disorders, including dermatitis and hives
Flavonoids To The Rescue
Flavonoids, including quercetin, are important anti-inflammatory because they act as antioxidants, which mean they literally fight the natural process of “oxidation” that takes place over time as we age. Quercetin can help stop damaging particles in the body known as free radicals, which negatively impact how cells work — including damaging cell membranes, changing the way DNA works, increasing cell mutations and causing healthy cells to die.
Lowering High Blood Pressure
According to a study published in the journal “Molecule” January 29, 2017. “Quercetin shows its anti-hypertensive actions via modification of various factors controlling blood pressure, such as vascular compliance (reciprocal of elastance) and resistance, total blood volume dependent on body fluid volume, autonomic nervous system, and rennin-angiotensin-system via anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative abilities.
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In addition to these abilities, quercetin has a unique action on the regulation of ENaC gene expression. This action is mediated via control of [Cl−]c by activating NKCC1. In this review, we show the novel idea on the role of “cytosolic Cl−“ in the antihypertensive action of quercetin on the volume-dependent regulation of blood pressure.” I know that is a mouthful to take in, but basically, it shows how quercetin works on a multi-faceted level in lowering high blood pressure.
What Foods Contain Quercetin?
Capers- The unique flavor of capers makes them a very desirable ingredient in the Mediterranean basin. They range in size from as small as a peppercorn to as large as a green olive. High in flavonoid compounds, capers are the highest source of quercetin (180mg per 100g).
Lovage Leaves- Lovage, a member of the parsley family, is a widely-used herb in parts of Europe and southwest Asia. Contains 170mg per 100g.
Red Onions- Red onions are one of the best natural sources of this flavonoid. Red onions have long been known to have many health benefits including preventing heart disease, cancer, and common colds and coughs. Contains 19.93mg per 100g.
Berries- Elderberries, of all the berries, are very rich in quercetin, but blueberries, and all other berries, also contain high amounts of quercetin.
Kale- One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of dietary fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. Contains 7,71mg per 100g.
Apples- The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties of apples. A large red apple, for example, contains about 10 mg. Organic apples are the best since the quercetin is in the peel.
Spinach- Spinach eases constipation and protects the mucous lining of the stomach so that you stay free of ulcers. It also flushes out toxins from the colon. Contains 4,86mg per 100g.
Raw Black Plums- They contain 12.5 milligrams per serving. Plums are relatives of the nectarine, peach, and almond and belong to the Prunus genus of plants. In addition to their high content of this antioxidant, they contain no saturated fats and are low in calories (46 calories per 100 g).
Fresh Fruits and Veggies Means Better Health
Eating lots of fruits an veggies should supply you with a healthy dose of quercetin. If, because you do not like veggies, you wish to take a supplement to be careful. Consuming this supplement inhibits an important enzyme (CYP3A4) involved in the metabolism of many frequent medications, which can alter the blood levels and effects of the drugs. Very high doses may damage the kidneys. You should take periodic breaks from taking the supplement.
If you choose to take a supplement please talk with your healthcare provider concerning quercetin. It has been no to interact with some antibiotics and other medications. Have any suggestions for content you would like to see in the newsletter? We would love to hear from you. Contact “Eli” at [email protected] Have a happy, healthy week.
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