Quercetin Non-Allergenic Bioflavonoid to Fight Histamine
|Fight Histamine With Quercetin||Darrell Miller||02/11/08|
February 11, 2008 03:48 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Fight Histamine With Quercetin
Quercetin is one of the more powerful of the body’s antioxidants, and it can also be used to reduce the rate of histamine release by the body normally initiated by contact with an allergenic substance (for which your immune system has designed an antigen). We shall examine the biochemical mechanism which this is achieved, but first let’s have a closer look at quercetin and what it actually is.
Quercetin is what is known as a phytochemical, which is simply the scientific name for a chemical that is naturally produced by plants. Other phytochemicals include vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, so the term is very broad ranging for any substance that is produced by plants. It is commonly known as a flavanol, one of a family of compounds known as flavonoids that give color to plants.
It is a very active flavonoid, with very powerful antioxidant properties, in addition to acting as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Histamine is an amine released as part of the body’s immune response to allergenics, and quercetin inhibits its manufacture and release. This amine is an irritant and can itself cause inflammation and the other symptoms associated with allergies such as runny and itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy spots. Quercetin can be used to alleviate these symptoms by blocking the manufacture in the body of the histamine that causes them.
It demonstrates other anti-inflammatory properties such as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, and also helps to destroy free radicals in the body through its strong antioxidant properties, but before we discuss how it does this we shall have a closer look at the mechanisms used in its effect in inhibiting histamine.
Calmodulin is a protein that is used to transport calcium ions, Ca++, across the membranes of certain cells in the body, and by doing so it helps to mediate a number of biochemical processes within the body, among them the immune response and inflammation. It should not be thought these are always unwelcome responses: on the contrary, they are the body’s way of reacting to foreign bodies and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
However, there are instances where the body can become sensitized to certain substances and overreact to their presence leading to conditions such as hay fever or, considerably more serious, asthma. These are just two of the undesirable manifestations of the human immune system that we would be better without. What quercetin does is to prevent calmodulin from properly binding to certain enzymic proteins and so suppress the effect of these proteins. Among these are the enzymes that control the secretion of histamine from mast cells.
Mast cells are found mainly in areas prone to injury and at the interface between internal tissues and outside world, such as the nose, mouth, lungs, eyes, blood vessels and feet. They contain granules rich in histamine that degranulate and released the histamine when the immune system detects foreign bodies such as pollen grains and dust mites, especially when the body has created antigens against them.
Quercetin suppresses the release of histamine from the granules in the mast cells by preventing the degranulation. The release of the histamine is not completely halted, but its effects are reduced and quercetin is used in the treatment of asthma where it is believed to help reduce the symptoms by reducing histamine-induced swelling in the airways.
A similar application of this flavonoid is in reducing the inflammatory response to arthritis, the main cause of the swelling of this painful condition. Your skin can also be affected by inflammation that is partially controllable by quercetin. Collagen and fibronectin biosynthesis is increased that help to maintain not only healthy joints, but also to speed up the healing of wounds and repair damaged nerves. It is also believed that quercetin can hold back the effects of aging on the skin, and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
There are other applications of this versatile flavanol, including its effect on acute prostatitis where it reduces oxidative stress and the accompanying inflammation of the prostate gland. In fact, it is believed to have positive effect on many conditions caused by free radical oxidation and excessive reaction by the immune system causing inflammation. Apart from the allergies and arthritis previously referred to, quercetin is believed to have been effectively used in the treatment of gout, macular degeneration and heart disease, and it can also help to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) responsible for transporting cholesterol to where it is needed to repair major blood vessels.
When these lipoproteins become oxidized by free radicals then the cholesterol associated with them tends to be excessively deposited in the arteries it is meant to be repairing, and lead to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to heart failure or to strokes if the blood vessels are in the brain.
Studies have indicated that the flavonoid might help to prevent certain cancers by preventing the nutrition of some types of cancerous cells, effectively killing them. Due to its phytoestrogen properties, quercetin can be used to bind to the sites in cancerous cells that are receptive to estrogen and so prevent their growth. Many types of cancerous cells need estrogen for their growth and proliferation, and phytoestrogens mimic the effect of this hormone. However, these are laboratory studies, and more work is required.
More certain is the effect of quercetin on heart disease due largely to the aforementioned control of cholesterol deposition in your arteries, but also through its ability to strengthen the capillaries. However, when all things are considered, it is in the properties of this non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine release that it finds it’s most popular and effective use.
So what is the best way to take quercetin? Like most bioflavonoids, it is available naturally in the majority of plant foods. Particularly rich sources are broccoli, red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red wine, red and purple berries and almost all dark green leafy vegetables.
However, the name of the game these days is to take measured doses, and while you should continue to eat these foods, you can also receive controlled doses by use of supplements. From 200 to 500 milligrams thrice daily is a good average dose, depending on the severity of your immune reaction or allergy. Bromelain is believed to improve its absorption in the gut, and quercetin is frequently provided with bromelain, which itself is also a good treatment for allergies and excessive response of your immune system to irritation.
Bromelain is an enzyme, generally extracted from pineapple, and treatments higher than the above doses of quercetin with or without bromelain are available online, although like any natural remedy you should inform your own physician of the dosage you are taking.
There is no better non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine and its potentially unpleasant effects on your body than quercetin.