Eat THIS to Keep the Doctor Away
We’ve all heard the old adage: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
And as much as that seemslike an old wives’ tale, there just might be some truth to this claim.
See, apples – along with onions, berries, grains, and even red wine – are rich in a substance that may indeed keep the doctor away.
Well, at least if you suffer from certain conditions.
And while you may not want to eat a bushel of apples (or onions, for that matter) every day, you can find this substance in supplement form, too.
Meet the “Un-Vitamin”…
Found throughout the produce aisle in apples, onions, berries, tea, grains, red wine, and more, quercetin is a flavonoid that’s been shown to possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Quercetin has long been valued in traditional cultures, including Ayurveda, Unani, and Native American medicine, where it was derived from plant sources as diverse as capers, milkweed, and gooseberries.
Yet modern scientists didn’t discover it until the 1930s, when a researcher initially believed that he had discovered a new vitamin and called it vitamin P (for permeability).
Although these days we know that quercetin is a flavonoid, not a vitamin, there seems to be no limit to claims made about its health benefits. From easing allergy symptoms, to preventing cancer, to improving athletic performance, quercetin is an increasingly popular supplement.
But does this “un-vitamin” really deliver?
A Potentially Powerful Supplement…
Some early studies suggest that quercetin may help ease several different health conditions.
This is because quercetin appears to act like an anti-inflammatory, inhibiting the action of prostaglandins, leukotrienes, histamine, and other inflammatory compounds in the body.
Plus, quercetin is an antioxidant, which means that it quells free radical damage that can contribute to disease.
For example, one small study looked at the effect of 730 mg of quercetin a day in men and women with pre- and early hypertension. After 28 days, researchers found that hypertensive people who supplemented with quercetin had lower blood pressure than those who took a placebo pill.1
Likewise, another study showed that 150 mg of quercetin a day appeared to lower systolic blood pressure in people who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease.2
Other research suggests that quercetin supplements may help ease the symptoms of prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland. One randomized, controlled study of 30 men with this painful condition found that quercetin was associated with an improvement of symptoms: 67% of patients taking the bioflavonoid had an improvement of symptoms of at least 25%, compared to just 20% of those taking a placebo.3
And quercetin may even have positive effects on exercise performance. Although evidence is mixed, some studies suggest that quercetin supplements may help improve lean body mass and energy expenditure and decrease muscle damage.4
Quercetin even shows promise for easing allergies, protecting against cancer, and reducing the risk of heart disease, although much more research is needed to fully qualify its effects on these diseases.
Keep in Mind…
With results like these, what’s not to like?
Well, quercetin appears to be safe, but, as is often the case, there are some caveats. For example, quercetin may trigger headaches, tingling of the arms and legs, or upset stomach in people who are sensitive to it.
Plus, it’s important to limit the dose you take to no more than 1.2 grams a day, as amounts in excess of this have been linked to kidney damage. Most experts recommend 500 mg twice a day for high blood pressure, prostatitis, and other conditions.
You should talk to your doctor before taking quercetin supplements if you also take antibiotics, anticoagulants (“blood thinners”), corticosteroids, and other medications, since they may interact with them.
And remember, keep an open mind to new ideas, but ALWAYS do your own homework…and combine that with common sense to figure out what’s best for YOU.
1 Edwards RL, Lyon T, Litwin SE, et al. Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. J Nutr. 2007 Nov;137(11):2405-11.
2 Egert S, Bosy-Westphal A, Seiberl J, et al. Quercetin reduces systolic blood pressure and plasma oxidised low-density lipoprotein concentrations in overweight subjects with a high-cardiovascular disease risk phenotype: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over study. Br J Nutr. 2009 Oct;102(7):1065-74.
3 Shoskes DA, Zeitlin SI, Shahed A, et al. Quercetin in men with category III chronic prostatitis: a preliminary prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Urology. 1999 Dec;54(6):960-3.
4Askari G, Ghiasvand R, Paknahad Z, et al. The effects of quercetin supplementation on body composition, exercise performance and muscle damage indices in athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Jan;4(1):21-6.
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