The Power of Quercetin

While some allergies seem to be around all year, for many people fall is the worst part of allergy season…and it’s all because of ragweed. Ragweed is the number one cause of fall hay fever symptoms in the United States. This weed flourishes in most parts of the country, with heaviest concentrations in the central and midwest sections. Fall allergies send people looking for remedies to fight the symptoms.

Without a doubt, the most popular of the natural remedies for allergies is Quercetin.  Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid, a plant pigment found in onions, cabbage, apples, pears and cranberries. It’s effectiveness in allergies is well-known because it can help reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions to pollens and airborne allergens. It works as an antihistamine, but unlike over-the-counter antihistamine drug formulas, which block the action of histamine after it is released, quercetin actually reduces the release of allergy-symptom-causing histamine in the body. The enzyme bromelain can increases quercetin’s effects, which is why bromelain is often added to quercetin supplements.

But quercetin’s benefits go beyond allergies. Here are some of the other benefits of quercetin:

Inflammation Response. Quercetin works to lower inflammation in the body. Because inflammation is at the heart of so many diseases, this could explain many of quercetin’s benefits. This is what makes quercetin helpful for seasonal allergy sufferers. It may also provide benefit for those dealing with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.

Heart Disease & Stroke. One study found supplements of quercetin helped lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Research has also found that a diet high in quercetin-rich fruits may cut stroke risk by 52%. Flavonoids such as quercetin are known antioxidants that work to protect cells from free radical damage, which may help protect against heart disease.

Exercise. Quercetin may enhance exercise performance. One study found that supplementation with quercetin for 2 weeks significantly improved exercise performance in young men.  Another study found supplementation for 7 days improved exercise endurance when compared to a similar 7-day period without quercetin supplementation. It is thought that supplementing with quercetin may boost antioxidant defenses and protect against exercise-induced oxidative damage.

Boost your quercetin intake through fall’s bounty of fruits and vegetables, including cabbage, cranberries and pears. For a more concentrated approach, look for quercetin in supplement form.