Quercetin for Allergies

Did You Know…that the antioxidant quercetin may provide natural allergy relief?

The changing of the seasons brings more than just the turning of the leaves—it brings allergies and all its symptoms: runny noses, sneezing and wheezing, and itchy, watery, red eyes.  Allergy medications may provide some relief but they also create their own symptoms, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and restlessness.  If you’re a lover of natural remedies, then alternative health practitioners recommend including quercetin—a flavonoid found in red grapes, apples, and green and black tea—in your allergy relief kit this season.

How Quercetin May Help Allergies 

Before quercetin was hailed for its antioxidant properties, it was used as a natural antihistamine.  Your immune system sends a signal to your mast cells to release histamines when it senses the threat of allergens.  These histamines are what trigger allergic reactions, such as skin, throat, lung, and nose irritation.  Test tube and animal studies indicate that quercetin helps block the release of histamines and inflammatory markers by stabilizing mast cells and helping to reduce stress.

Stress is an important piece of the allergy puzzle, because stress alone is enough to release immune cells to your skin, just as they would do if you suffered a wound or infection.  A 2009 study showed that stress amplifies mast cells, readying them for histamine release and subsequent allergic reactions, such as skin conditions, asthma, and digestive problems.

Quercetin also helps alleviate the effects of arthritis and allergies by helping to calm inflammation.  A 2007 study published in Inflammation Research showed that when mice ate a diet rich in quercetin, the inflammatory chemicals associated with allergies decreased to a normal non-reactionary level.  A 2009 study confirmed the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin.  Animals with induced rheumatoid arthritis were given quercetin.  Test results showed they had no more inflammation than animals without rheumatoid arthritis, indicating quercetin’s beneficial effect on inflammation.

A Unique Antioxidant 

The antioxidant support of quercetin has demonstrated effectiveness in boosting the immune system, protecting the nervous system, and optimizing weight management.  A 2009 study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry showed just how unique quercetin is.  It is able to activate the primary mechanism that triggers the production of cellular glutathione, which is the master antioxidant of all your cells.  In doing so, quercetin helps protect insulin-producing cells in your pancreas, which in turn helps stabilize blood sugar.

Other studies have shown that the antioxidant protection of quercetin helps protect the liver, the cells that line your sinuses, and even your mitochondria—the energy factory of your cells—all while strengthening heart health.

Boosting Quercetin in Your Body 

Eating quercetin-rich foods is the best way to boost quercetin levels in your body, while supplementing with quercetin has proven effective at controlling the symptoms of allergies in animal and test tube studies.  In your shopping cart this week consider including: 

  • Apples (1 apple contains 50 mg of quercetin)
  • Red onions
  • Green or black tea
  • Red grapes
  • Red wine
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
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