Quercetin is a powerful polyphenol with multiple benefits for your health. Foods high in quercetin include fruits, vegetables, and teas, it’s an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. You can find it best in raw foods such as red and yellow onions, berries, apples, capers, and tomatoes.
Interestingly enough, quercetin intake in the United States falls short compared to other parts of the world. So, if you’re struggling to get enough of this essential nutrient, supplementation is the next best option.
Here are some of the best benefits of quercetin:
Zombie Cells, Quercetin, and Aging
One of the most exciting benefits of quercetin comes back to its ability to act as a “senolytic agent” to help get rid of cells that have “gone senile” with age…
These aged, senescent cells (pronounced “Sen-ess-ent”) lose their functions and act like zombies in the body, roaming around and causing mayhem and confusion where they pass. As they build up in the body, they contribute to early aging, inflammation, and metabolic dysfunctions in the body.
These cells are involved in metabolic dysfunction like type 2 diabetes, inflammation, osteoporosis, cancer development, and the loss of the body’s resilience to challenges.
By helping to break down and clear these zombie cells, quercetin helps support healthy aging and normal cellular, metabolic, and immune balance (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11).
It’s also why quercetin is now part of my daily supplement stack and an increasingly favorite compound of many natural health providers and researchers.
I take IsoQuercetin which is the best-absorbed quercetin up to 2500% better than other forms.
Quercetin and Gut Health
Quercetin is transformed into a number of derivatives in the body, and some of this transformation is helped by good bacteria in the gut and intestinal lining cells offering a potential prebiotic benefit as well as benefits of the compounds produced (postbiotics) (12; 13).
Quercetin may also help protect intestinal lining cells. It is unique in its ability to stabilize mast cells, which line the gut and reduce food sensitivity reactions (14).
The gut mucosal layer and lining cannot heal if it’s inflamed at the same time. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive benefits may help support inflammation and aid in intestinal healing.
Quercetin Benefits for Inflammation and Immune Support
Quercetin is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, backed by a number of studies (15; 16).
One of the significant causes of inflammation in the body is the absorption of toxins through a leaky gut. Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are the common toxins that lead to the release of inflammatory messengers throughout the body.
LPS endotoxins are associated with the development of every known chronic disease.
Research shows that quercetin is capable of blocking some of the influence of LPS on inflammatory immune cells, and it can also inhibit the same enzymes targeted by ibuprofen and related anti-inflammatory drugs.
More Quercetin Inflammation Benefits:
- Inflammatory disorders and autoimmunity arise from imbalances in immune cells that otherwise should be kept in a seesaw-like balance. Quercetin can support immune balance by modulating Th1 and Th2 cells (17; 18).
- Oxidative damage is a leading contributor to disease processes. Quercetin helps to maintain glutathione levels, the body’s master antioxidant, while also stimulating its production (19).
- Recent studies revealed that quercetin offers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and nerve-protective benefits. It shows the potential to support various conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial and viral infections, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus (20; 21; 22; 23).
Quercetin and Zinc Benefits:
Quercetin and zinc benefits intersect. Zinc is known as the “gatekeeper of immunity” and sufficient levels are necessary to initiate many immune processes. Quercetin and other polyphenols facilitate zinc’s transportation inside our cells (24), improving its ability to perform its many health benefits in the body.
Zinc also supports tissue healing, especially in mucosal surfaces like the lungs, mouth, and gut. It plays a role in brain and bone health and supports stomach acid production.
Quercetin Histamine Benefits:
Quercetin is a well-known stabilizer of mast cells, which release histamine in response to injury, allergens, irritants, and stress.
By ensuring mast cells only activate when there is a real threat, quercetin may help prevent unnecessary or excess histamine release, resulting in fewer histamine-related symptoms (25).
Histamine is responsible for many functions in the body, including gut motility and stomach acid production. Symptoms of excess histamine may be redness, itching, welting, runny nose, congested sinuses, postnasal drip, tightening of airways, and even anxiety-like symptoms.
These symptoms can appear if mast cells release too much histamine.
Mast cells can become fragile with stress, inflammation, and overwork, which increases the likelihood of histamine release. Quercetin can improve immune resilience by stabilizing mast cells and reducing histamine release – making the body much more resilient to typical stressors such as pollen, mold, sensitive foods, or air pollutants.
Histamine intolerance or overload can be common, especially for those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and can cause more significant problems for some individuals.
Therefore, for those with such issues, quercetin may help improve resilience without employing stronger antihistamine strategies.
When it comes to more serious problems such as mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), this is rare and typically discovered early on in life and may require that an individual carry an Epi-Pen and seek other medical strategies.
Nonetheless, quercetin may still help mitigate issues for these individuals in addition to medical options.
How Much Quercetin Supplement Should I Take?
Many of these benefits have been demonstrated in the lab and in animal studies, but may not be dosed or bioavailability enough in human studies when used on its own which is why I prefer taking it with food, or as part of a flavonoid/polyphenol mix containing quercetin such as Natural D-Hist (See D-Hist, Jr. for kids) or Quercetin Bromelain Forte.
Ideally, I choose the IsoQuercetin form two to three times per day as it’s in an active form that’s readily absorbed up to 2500% more than other forms.
For instance, quercetin may reduce cardiovascular risk factors on its own as well as in combination with other compounds such as resveratrol which led to a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors (26; 27).
Other benefits discussed above may require taking an active form, taking it with fat-containing food, or combining it with other similar compounds for additive effects (28). As polyphenol combinations can be limitless – robust studies are difficult to standardize and reproduce.
Studies that have not seen measurable effects in humans kept supplementation to 500-1000mg/day but they did not use the alpha-glycosyl isoquercitrin form, nor did they combine use with other polyphenols or dictate that study subjects take the supplement with fat-containing food.
Check with an alternative health provider if taking amounts greater than 1000mg or longer than 12 weeks. No significant side effects or toxicity has been seen within these thresholds. Higher amounts for longer periods of time are not necessarily harmful but have not been fully evaluated (29; 30).
The quercetin form that I use has an absorbable equivalence of up to 2000mg (per two capsules) compared to other forms and adds 540mg of Vitamin C for further support. Take 1-2 capsules per day.
Quercetin Benefits Summary:
- Quercetin is a polyphenol found in many fruits, vegetables, and teas that is regarded as an antioxidant with a host of anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is also a “senolytic agent”, which helps break down old, senescent cells (or zombie cells). Senescence is when cells lose their functions but still roam around causing trouble.
- It aids in blocking the influence of LPS on inflammatory immune cells and inhibits the same enzymes targeted by ibuprofen and related anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Quercetin also has the capacity to help maintain glutathione levels while stimulating its production.
- Additionally, it works with zinc to help transport zinc ions inside our cells, improving its dynamics in the body. Zinc is a critical player in all immune functions, along with roles in tissue healing, brain health, and a healthy mucosal lining throughout the GI tract.
- Studies have indicated quercetin may offer beneficial effects for rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, viral and bacterial infections, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Quercetin can stabilize mast cells responsible for histamine release which may help reduce occasional allergy and sensitivity symptoms such as redness, itching, welting, runny nose, and congested sinuses.
- IsoQuercetin form has up to 25x greater absorbability than other forms of quercetin. Other forms used in quercetin supplements should be taken with food or as part of a flavonoid/polyphenol mix for best results.
Best Quercetin Supplements:
Here are the quercetin supplements that are recommended and ordered the most by our followers.
Most Absorbed Quercetin:
- IsoQuercetin by US Enzymes (sister company of Tomorrow’s Nutrition PRO)
Quercetin and Bromelain:
- Quercetin-Bromelain Forte by Klaire Labs
Quercetin and NAC, Vitamin C, Bromelain, and Stinging Nettles:
- Natural D-Hist by Orthomolecular Products
- For kids: D-Hist, Jr. by Orthomolecular Products