When people are diagnosed with conditions like cancer, they know they are up against a strong process in their bodies. They understand that the treatments available, chemotherapy and radiation, are just as challenging as the condition itself.
In preparation for treating cancer, some people start looking for ways to make the healing process easier and less damaging to their whole body, especially their immune systems.
While many claims have been made discussing the healing aspects of different nutrients, a new study is revealing the benefits of an under-utilized and powerful antioxidant: quercetin.
What Is Quercetin?
While quercetin has made a name for itself in the supplement world, many people are still unclear about what it is.
Quercetin is an antioxidant that you will find in many colorful fruits and vegetables. If you’re eating apples, oranges, dark berries (ex. blueberries and blackberries), peppers, tomatoes, red onion, asparagus, or leafy green vegetables, chances are you’ve been taking in some dietary sources of quercetin.
While food is the foundation for good health, when people have serious health conditions, they need extra nutritional support and may look for more concentrated forms of nutrients.
A group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science looked at how quercetin worked to support the body. What they found was that quercetin supported normal cell death (also known as apoptosis) and it blocked cell divis
ion. These two processes are important when discussing cancer because they are central mechanisms in the development of cancer. Cancerous cells are problematic because they grow in an uncontrolled fashion and continue to multiply. There is no mechanism in place to stop their growth.
When a nutrient like quercetin comes in to support normal cell death, there is a controlled process for the disintegration of those cells. Uncontrolled cell death leaves cell fragments loose within tissues and creates an environment where decay can happen. All cells have a natural life cycle.
They are created and they should also die off so that new cells can take their place and grow. When that process is functioning normally the body can enjoy good health from vibrant new cells.
The research team also found that quercetin can kill highly aggressive leukemia cells. And these are strains of cells which have proven to be resistant to some of the strongest anti-cancer drugs. It’s refreshing information for people that have looked to conventional methods of care and not had the effects they were looking for.
The Cancer-Fighting Benefits of Quercetin
Researchers wanted to know how well quercetin could work. To test this, they induced cancer in laboratory mice and treated them with quercetin.
They found that the size of the tumor cells were significantly smaller after treatment.
Quercetin also interacted with the mice’s DNA which was another mechanism by which it helped to kill cancer cells. Incidentally, while quercetin had these effects on the cancer cells, it did not interfere with normal, healthy cells.
This study shows great promise for quercetin’s ability to help many people obtain healthy cell function faster. It’s possible that in the future, quercetin might be used as a natural therapy on its own for cancer treatment or in conjunction with conventional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.
As an antioxidant, quercetin fights free radicals, particles that cause cell damage throughout the body. Free radicals are abundantly available through toxins found in places like the air we breathe and chemicals in our food supply. Cells damaged by free radicals negatively affect how they work.
Free radicals can harm the health of cell membranes, increase mutations of cells, alter how DNA works, and lead to the death of healthy cells.
Quercetin’s capacity to support different tissues has been seen in research studies looking at colon, prostate, breast and lung tumors with enhanced function for those tissues.
Quercetin and Inflammation
Inflammation is another area where quercetin appears to positively affect the prostate and overall health.
We know that inflammation is at the core of many chronic health conditions. Addressing it is one of the first steps to healing. Some preliminary research showed quercetin might be helpful for symptoms related to prostatitis.
Although more research needs to be done, the University of Maryland medical centre states that people with autoimmune conditions have reported symptom relief when using quercetin.
Additionally, pain caused by inflammation was reduced when using clinical doses of this powerful antioxidant.
Another area of interest to point out with quercetin involves the cardiovascular system. Some animal and human studies suggest that it can decrease the risk of developing atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque along the walls of arteries. Plaque buildup can obstruct blood flow and lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Quercetin, along with other antioxidants like resveratrol and catechin (all found in red wine), has been noted to protect against damage caused by LDL cholesterol. Historically, LDL cholesterol has been considered the “bad” cholesterol that is involved in the formation of plaques.
By this mechanism, it is thought to prevent death from heart disease. One study found that quercetin lowered the concentration of LDL cholesterol in overweight subjects at high risk of developing heart disease. Quercetin has also been reported to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
As it relates to heart health, many of the studies looking at the benefits of quercetin have researched its function through food. Herbs like sage, coriander, or Japanese sophora flower contain quercetin. While some herbs are edible and can be included in meals, others are not. That’s when having a supplemental form of it is helpful.
Ultimately, including a powerful antioxidant like quercetin in your daily diet is one way to reap the benefits it has to offer.
Having it in supplement form further increases the benefits you can get from it.
Studies are ongoing to see what else it can do and how it works. For now, it’s proving to be a nutrient you don’t want to miss out on!
I Wish You Good Health,
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