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Quercetin is the most widely studied flavonoid and present in foods such as citrus fruits, apples, onions, berries and more. It has a wide array of actions, including; anti-allergic, anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and much more.
This wide array of actions gives it a whole host of benefits within the body, everything from improving hay fever symptoms, enhancing gut health and supporting the function of the immune system.
As stated above, Quercetin has a wide array of uses and this is due to the multitude of ways it works in the body. Here are some of the many ways Quercetin works in the body.
A zinc ionophore is a substance that enhances the uptake of zinc into the cell (not just having it remain in the bloodstream), where it can then exert its desired effects.
Prior to 2020, Quercetin was perhaps best known in natural health circles as an anti-histamine and anti-allergic supplement. The way it facilitates this is through acting as a mast cell stabiliser (R).
Mast cells are the cells that contain histamine and when they degranulate they release histamine into the bloodstream. Thus, by stabilising mast cells, Quercetin reduces the amount of histamine released into the bloodstream.
This makes Quercetin a great supporting nutrient for allergies and hayfever.
Quercetin plays a role in the integrity of tight junction proteins (R). A lack/underexpression of these proteins can lead to intestinal hyperpermeability (aka leaky gut).
This has a wide range of beneficial effects on the body. By reducing the permeability (leakiness) of the gut, we reduce the potential for overactivation of the immune system and the histamine and immune issues that can come from that.
Quercetin can be taken with a meal or away from a meal. Supplemental doses usually range between 500-1000mg 1-2 times per day.
Caution is advised for those with low levels of iron as Quercetin is an iron chelator, it reduces the absorption of iron from meals. If your goal is to raise your iron levels it may be a good idea to take Quercetin away from meals and iron-containing supplements. Though if you have excess iron and/or haemochromatosis, Quercetin can be a great way to reduce your iron absorption.
Quercetin, like many supplements, can act synergistically with other nutrients and supplements.
Here are just a few supplements Quercetin can be paired with.
Certainly an unlikely pairing, and not often spoken about, but this combination can be a great 1-2 punch for hayfever and allergic symptoms.
Quercetin and Kidney both act to lower histamine, though in different ways.
As mentioned above, Quercetin stabilises mast cells, preventing the release of histamine in the first place. Kidney on the other end, helps to deal with histamine that has already been released.
Kidney contains the enzyme Di-Amine Oxidase (DAO) which metabolises (breaks down) histamine that has already been released by mast cells.
As mentioned above, quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore, helping zinc enter the cells. Thus, pairing the two supplements together can assist with the immune, gut and allergy benefits as the 2 act in tandem to support these areas.
Seeing as many products contain a combination of Quercetin and Bromelain, it begs the question, is Quercetin better with Bromelain?
Bromelain may support better absorption of Quercetin. Additionally, by supporting digestion of proteins, Bromelain can reduce an overactive immune response (more on this in an upcoming article).
Additionally, Bromelain lowers inflammation, supports recovery from sinus infections, reduces allergy and asthmatic symptoms and improves lung health, suggesting a synergy effect between the 2 supplements.
With such a wide array of uses (that we only scratched the surface on), Quercetin certainly seems like a supplement that can help many people. Whether it be taken as a stand-alone, or used in tandem with Kidney, Zinc, Bromelain or more, it is certainly a supplement not to be overlooked.