Quercetin - The Allergy Support Bioflavonoid
Quercetin: Solid Advice On How To Deal With Allergies
Every spring, summer and fall millions of Americans sneeze, wheeze, drip, and sniffle their way through a world filled with trillions of airborne pollen, dust, and smoke particles. Over-the-counter anti-allergy drugs (antihistamines) tend to leave their users either sleepy or over-stimulated. Fortunately, modern nutritional science now offers a highly effective, natural and nontoxic remedy for allergies: the bioflavonoid quercetin.
Quercetin, a "cousin" of the more well-known bioflavonoid rutin, is one of a thousand or so members of the bioflavonoid family. Bioflavonoids are a group of polyphenol phytochemicals or plant produced compounds. They are coloring pigments widely found throughout the plant kingdom, where they also provide plants with antioxidant protection against environmental stresses.
Natural diets high in vegetables, fruit, sprouts, and whole grains typically provide a total of 1,000 to 2,000 mg a day of a broad range of flavonoids. Blue-green algae are the usual source of quercetin, but it's also available as a food supplement in tablet, capsule, softgel, and chewable form.
Activated Quercetin: What Causes An Allergic Reaction?
Allergies and asthma are inflammatory conditions usually triggered by air or food-borne pollens and chemicals called "allergens." After these are absorbed into the blood (through the lungs, skin, or intestines), they cause the B cells (white blood cells) of allergy-sufferers to produce billions of molecules of the allergic antibody IgE. The IgE molecules then travel through the bloodstream until they combine with mast cells or basophils.
Mast cells and basophils are the main storage sites for histamine and serotonin. The IgE allergic antibody then causes the cell membranes of the mast cells/basophils to become "leaky, " allowing their storage load of histamine and serotonin to pour into the surrounding blood and tissues. The IgE-released histamine and serotonin then produce the familiar allergic symptoms of runny, swollen nose; blocked sinuses; itchy eyes; skin blotches; coughing and wheezing; etc.
Quercetin To The Rescue!
Quercetin has a strong affinity for mast cells and basophils. It tends to stabilize their cell membranes. This also prevents them from spilling their pro-inflammatory, allergy-symptom-causing load of histamine/serotonin into the surrounding blood and tissue in response to the IgE antibody and without the release of these potent inflammatory mediators, the familiar misery of allergies simply will not occur, even though you've inhaled the pollen, animal hair, or whatever normally triggers allergy attacks.
Asthma is an allergic inflammation involving the lungs. During an asthma attack (which can be triggered by air- or food-borne pollen, dust, animal hair, chemicals, etc.), the millions of tiny air sacs within the lungs are constricted. This seriously impairs breathing and causing a feeling of tightness in the chest. In addition to IgE-released histamine, the primary biochemical cause of the asthmatic symptoms is a group of fatty acid derivatives called leukotrienes (LTs). These asthma-causing LTs are made from arachidonic acid (a key fatty acid constituent of many cell membranes) by the action of two enzymes - phospholipase A2 and lipoxygenase.
Quercetin is known to be a powerful inhibitor of both these enzymes. Thus it prevents the formation of asthma-causing LTs. This is even when the IgE antibody (formed in response to inhaled or swallowed allergens) is present in the lungs to stimulate LT Production and release. Quercetin suppresses the release and/or production of the two primary inflammatory mediators. Histamine and leukotrienes cause the actual symptoms of asthma. Its potential benefit is in supporting a healthy immune inflammatory response and normal respiration.
How To Prevent Winter Allergies?
Quercetin is a safe, non toxic substance. A report by I. Hirono et al in Cancer Letters (1981), for example, found no evidence of toxicity or carcinogenicity in rats. This occurred even when quercetin made up 10 percent of their total dietary intake.
Unfortunately, quercetin is barely soluble in water, so poor dietary absorption may limit its efficacy. Michael Murray, N.D., suggests that quercetin should be taken in combination with bromelain to improve its absorption. Bromelain is a natural, protein-digesting enzyme derived from pineapples.
Bromelain is used to increase absorption of compounds. Also, it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that synergize with quercetin. Bromelain inhibits several other common inflammatory mediators, including bradykinin and fibrin. It's widely used in sports medicine to reduce the pain and swelling of bruises, sprains, muscle tears, etc.
Here at Peach Vitamins, we have had numerous customers who suffer from allergies and asthma that have successfully used quercetin to support their health and well being during Atlanta's intense and extended allergy season. Some asthma suffers even use it year round because of the benefits they feel they receive. Around 1,000mg to 2,000mg a day in divided doses between meals is the recommended effective dose.