Spring is the season of the year that people wait for as the cold months of transition ease the world into the spoils and warmth of summer. But despite all the perks that warmer weather often brings, for many people, the season of spring also means misery and allergy for a big chunk of the population. Good thing that quercetin may offer some relief.
Allergies and Quercetin
It doesn’t matter if the culprits are foods, pollutants, grasses, pollens, or mites, these allergens can trigger the production of the antibodies called immunoglobulin E or simply IgE. The IgE antibodies will then attach to certain immune cells called basophils and mast cells making them release abundant amounts of cytokines, pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, and histamine. It leads to the most common allergy symptoms including itchy and runny nose, skin rash, watery eyes, asthma, and irritated throat.
Quercetin is a type of naturally occurring compound that belongs to the class of substances called bioflavonoids that are widely recognized thanks to their anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
These help the body eliminate free radicals and might also prevent some damage they often cause. You can find this compound in a wide selection of herbs, vegetables, and fruits, including red grapes, apples, cocoa powder, black and green teas, berries, broccoli, and onions.
A Natural Antihistamine for Allergy Sufferers
Popularly known for its immune-modulating and anti-allergy effects, there is a belief that quercetin might even offer support for people who are suffering from autoimmune disease and asthma.
Every time you are having some form of an allergic reaction, your body will shift into a protection mode while your mast cells will start the release of histamine to help in expelling these natural allergies out of your system. It often comes in the form of tearing up, sneezing, or even itching.
But while the ability of your body to expel allergens is important for survival, the moment it overreacts to these triggers, it may result in allergic reactions that will have you reaching for the nearest antihistamine available that can help block your immune response.
It has been found that quercetin inhibits not only the production but also the release of histamine. It also has the ability to stabilize the mast cell membranes. This might then help in the prevention of most allergic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, and asthma.
Benefits for Your Respiratory System
Studies conducted on animals have discovered that over 25% of the absorbed quercetin often ends up getting localized to the lungs which offer additional benefits for asthmatic patients. Quercetin actually has the same structure as disodium cromoglycate, a type of drug used for bronchospasm and asthma.
Quercetin also has an effect on reducing URTIs or upper respiratory tract infections. People who are taking 1000mg of quercetin every day for up to three before and during and up to two weeks following intensive cycling training for three days in the winter had substantially lessened incidences of URTIs.
Aside from this, in a study conducted with more than 1000 subjects, one subgroup of participants more than 40 years of age who classified themselves as physically fit reported a decrease in their total sick days and the severity of URTI symptoms with 1000 mg of quercetin supplementation daily.
The authors of the study remark that they had an interesting finding because unlike their original hypothesis, the strongest effects of quercetin in relation to URTI were observed in the group that is at relatively low risk, which is the group of adult subjects who considered themselves to be physically fit.
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The Immune System and Quercetin
The T cells that are produced by the thymus gland are a crucial part of a person’s adaptive immunity. Categorized into two subjects, namely Th2 and Th1, their balance will determine the progression of the disease.
Even though the Th1-dominant responses have an involvement in most autoimmune diseases like sarcoidosis and Crohn’s disease, the Th2 responses are more involved in some atopic disorders like eczema as well as parasitic infection and allergies.
Quercetin has also been shown to reduce the production of Th2 cytokine while augmenting the production of Th1 cytokine. This effectively shifts the Th1/Th2 balance in more susceptible individuals. In addition, healthy volunteers who took 500mg two times a day for up to four weeks saw a decrease in the protein expression of the molecule BDCA-2 which figures mostly in the progress of the autoimmune disease.
Quercetin and Blood Pressure Improvement
Quercetin is also found to have a significant impact on the cardiovascular system. During a meta-analysis and systematic review conducted in 2016, doses of quercetin that are more than 500mg were revealed to significantly lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The advantages seem to be higher in some members of the population that are suffering from comorbidities like diabetes or people who smoke, possibly as a result of the antioxidant qualities of quercetin.
The typical dosing for quercetin is often about 500 mg one or two times a day throughout the duration of the symptoms. This is a somewhat good profile and only minimal adverse effects were reported. But there is still not a lot of substantial data on safety available for long-term use or more than 12 weeks.
It is also not recommended to use quercetin as a supplement if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. It is recommended to always talk to your healthcare provider before you add any new form of supplement to your regular routine to check if it suits you and your unique needs.
The Bottom Line
You see, there are a lot of benefits that you can enjoy when you take quercetin. It is not a secret that more and more people suffer from allergies not only in the spring season but also at other times of the year. So, the next time you start the onset of your allergy symptoms, make sure you ask your healthcare provider or doctor to know if this is a suitable addition to your routine.