The plant pigment quercetin, which is also considered a flavonoid, can be found in a diverse number of plants. In fact, it can be found in many of the items humans consume on a regular basis such as apples, red wine, onions, green tea and berries. The flavonoid can be used as a medicine and if often prescribed by alternative medicine practitioners. Despite being easily available in a variety of food sources, the level of quercetin which is present in the food has been shown to be significantly lower than what can be obtained through quercetin supplement usage.
Quercetin supplements have a variety of beneficial uses. Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of quercetin at treating and lessening the symptoms of a variety of conditions and diseases. Some of the things in which quercetin has been proven to be effective include managing the symptoms of allergies, prostatitis, high cholesterol, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, viral infections, gout, schizophrenia, asthma and circulation problems. Quercetin has also been successful in stopping the growth of some cancerous cells. Athletes also sometimes take quercetin as a way to enhance their performance and increase their endurance.
This flavonoid has several properties that make it successful in treating and reducing the symptoms of these conditions. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are primarily responsible for this ability. Quercetin can prevent free radical damage and lower inflammation experienced with many conditions. Its antihistamine properties are also responsible for reducing some symptoms related to having some immunity deficiencies.
Studies on quercetin supplement usage have shown it to be safe in doses up to 1,000 mg per day. However, all studies done on the flavonoid have been short term, with the longest lasting just one month. As a result, there is no information on the safety of taking quercetin supplements for an extended period of time. Throughout the studies done by researchers, the most often reported side effect has been increased energy levels. This is what attracts athletes to quercetin supplements. In high doses, other side effects have been noted by quercetin users including headaches and a tingling of the extremities. In rare instances, a high intake of quercetin supplements can lead to some serious kidney damage. No studies have been done on the safety of using quercetin supplements while pregnant or while breast feeding.
Before taking quercetin supplements, you should check with your doctor if you are taking any other type of prescription medication. Quercetin can interfere with other drugs and possibly cause some complications. Taking quercetin while on antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of your antibiotics or prevent the antibiotics from killing bacteria. If you are on cyclosporine, it is also known to interact with quercetin. In fact, the flavonoid changes the speed in which the liver breaks down the drug. Primarily medications which are broken down or changed by the liver are the one that experience the most interaction with quercetin supplements. Using quercetin while on these medications can result in a share increase in the side effects from these medications.