Healthy Digestion/Quercetin: The Free Radical Buster That Keeps Your Gut Healthy
Quercetin: The Free Radical Buster That Keeps Your Gut Healthyby Hannah Nguyen ● 18/01/2022 ● 7 min read
Have you ever wondered how fruits and vegetables got their unique flavor, color, and smell?
Well, you can thank Quercetin for that.
Quercetin does this so that plants can attract insects, birds, and small animals responsible for pollination and seed dispersal.
On top of adding color, smell, and taste to plants, Quercetin is responsible for increasing the plant's tolerance against stress and invaders.
Yes, plants get stressed, too!
This yellow pigment is the darling of the health supplement world because of its high antioxidant content.
But how do Antioxidants work?
To understand the role of Antioxidants, you need to consider its arch-enemy: Free Radicals.
You see, Free Radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons.
They roam your body to look for the first available electron they can snatch and pair with their own.
This process damages the cells where the snatched electrons came from.
When this happens, the healthy cells begin to grow old and die.
And as we all know, cell death affects our body in many ways:
- Clogged arteries
- Age spots, wrinkles, saggy skin
- Chronic pain
- Age-related vision problems
- Graying hair and hair loss
- High blood pressure
The role of Antioxidants, such as Quercetin, is to search for Free Radicals.
Once found, Antioxidants will then donate their extra electrons so that Free Radicals no longer threaten healthy cells.
On top of keeping you healthy and younger looking, Quercetin could also help your gut in many ways:
Patches A Leaky Gut
Think of your gut as a long water pipe made of cells pressed against each other to create a protective wall.
So how does a leaky gut come into the picture?
Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, explains, "Some people may have a weaker barrier because they were born with it, or they follow an unbalanced diet low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats, which may be the trigger that weakens the gut lining."
This condition usually leads to tiny cracks, which toxins, undigested food particles, and harmful bacteria use to sneak into the bloodstream.
A leaky gut could trigger a severe reaction from your immune system.
You may suspect a leaky gut when you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- Chronic constipation, bloating, or diarrhea
- Poor concentration
- Skin problems such as eczema, rashes, and acne
- Bad breath or body odor
- Food allergies
- Unexplained cravings for sugar or carbs
The role of Quercetin is to strengthen the integrity of this protective wall and promote healthy inflammation so that cells have more time to plug the leaks.
Quercetin is also responsible for recruiting more good bacteria to patch these leaks and prevent more toxins from sneaking into your bloodstream.
Peptic ulcers remain to be one of the most widespread gut issues in the world.
They affect nearly 10% of the global population, wherein 5% suffer from gastric ulcers.
The central component of this condition is the excess secretion of gastric acid -- hence the need for antacids, H2 receptor blockers, or proton pump blockers.
However, these solutions are temporary and often come with side effects.
Fortunately, experts are starting to develop solutions based on natural sources such as Quercetin.
Here’s how Quercetin helps prevent or reduce the effects of ulcers:
- It helps increase mucus production, which protects the gut against acid.
- It decreases histamine levels to prevent the overproduction of stomach acids.
- It inhibits the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is responsible for damaging the lining of your stomach and causing acid to get through the lining -- leading to the formation of lesions or ulcers.
Flushes Out Bad Bacteria
Whether we like it or not, bacteria will always be part of our lives.
They’re everywhere -- from the food we eat to the air we breathe.
Sometimes, we end up catching harmful strains of bacteria that may prove fatal if left untreated.
Here’s what these harmful bacteria do to your body:
- May cause digestive issues
- Make you prone to skin infections
- Causes urinary tract infections
- Weakens your immune system
Several experiments have shown that Quercetin inhibits the growth of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enteritidis, S. aureus, E. coli, Proteus, and Aspergillus flavus.
Quercetin hunts down these bacteria to destroy their cell wall and drain their energy, so they don’t reproduce or grow further.
Quercetin could potentially reduce your risk of infection by strengthening your immune system with this process.
Helps Stop Gut Inflammation
When your body is exposed to harmful stimuli, your immune system kicks into action by triggering a process known as inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s way of healing itself by repairing or eliminating damaged cells affected by these stimuli.
It could be in the form of swelling, pain, redness, or loss of function.
Short-term inflammation is necessary for the body to recover.
But, there are instances where inflammation lingers far longer than you may expect.
This chronic, long-term inflammation is what harms the body.
Bloating, fatigue, sugar cravings, constipation, acid reflux, anxiety, cramping, and weight gain are tell-tale signs of chronic, long-term inflammation that affect the gut.
Numerous experiments have shown that Quercetin is a potent anti-inflammatory substance capable of accomplishing wonderful tasks, namely:
It enhances the body’s internal detox system against chronic inflammation.
It shortens the symptoms of inflammation so you can recover quickly.
- It improves your tolerance against chronic inflammation.
- It encourages the multiplication of good bacteria, which can help combat inflammation.
- It helps calm inflamed tissues in the gut by lowering the activity of COX2 and LOX -- two critical enzymes responsible for the creation of pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
Recent scientific studies reveal that Quercetin can promote healthy weight loss by having multiple effects on human fat cells:
Experts observed that Quercetin was able to stop maturing fat cells from accumulating fat.
Quercetin can also prevent young fat cells from maturing while triggering the destruction of existing fat cells at the same time.
- Quercetin can deprive fat cells of glucose to create more fat molecules.
And get this.
A team of researchers from the University of Georgia discovered that a combination of Quercetin and Resveratrol decreased fat accumulation in cultured cells by 70% while increasing fat cell destruction by 310%!
Another study involving 78 obese women confirmed the value of Quercetin in achieving optimal weight and BMI.
The volunteers took 1,000mg of Quercetin every day for 12 weeks.
The results showed that the volunteers improved their blood sugar levels and fatty acid balance.
What’s more, Quercetin helped the women volunteers to lose weight and reduce an obesity marker called ‘resistin’.
So what does it mean to you?
In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, increasing your intake of Quercetin, whether from food or through supplementation, may help accelerate your weight loss, decrease your waistline, and make you less prone to weight gain.
How To Meet Your Daily Quercetin Quota?
We all know that eating a wide variety of whole foods is the best way to meet your daily need for Quercetin.
But let’s face it, our lifestyle makes it harder to find time and energy to follow a proper diet.
So, let’s check out these helpful tips you can follow, so you don’t miss out on your Quercetin.
Leave the skin of fruits and vegetables whenever you can to absorb more Quercetin.
For example, you can use sweet potato peels to make some crisps.
Or, how about using orange peels to flavor cakes and desserts or give zest to your cocktails?
Add apple peel to your favorite tea blend for a relaxing drink during hot summer afternoons.
And how about adding some lemon zest to your favorite pasta dishes or stews?
Onion has higher Quercetin content than most fruits and vegetables.
You can use it for soups, stews, salads, omelets, and preserves.
Capers are one of the best sources of Quercetin.
So give your salsa dips a zing by adding capers to salsa verde, mango salsa, or Picco De Gallo.
Capers are also good with salads and sandwiches.
Fresh herbs like cloves, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and basil have high concentrations of quercetin.
Cinnamon, for instance, is perfect for your morning coffee or breakfast cereal.
You can also toss herbs with roasted vegetables for more color and flavor.
Or add a slice of herb butter into your steak, mashed potato, garlic bread, or corn on the cob.
Last but not least, make a habit of eating green vegetables every day.
You can blend them into smoothies, add them into pesto sauces, use them as wraps, turn them into last-minute soups, or make your omelet super healthy.
Quercetin is more than just a pigment.
It’s a powerful flavonoid that gives your immune system a much-needed boost.
Additionally, taking Quercetin may improve your gut health in many ways.
It helps address leaky gut issues by strengthening the integrity of the gut wall.
Quercetin helps protect your gut from stomach acid and prevents the formation of lesions.
Exposure to pathogens can be fatal if you don’t address it immediately.
Quercetin may help prevent further infection and bacterial growth through multiple mechanisms.
Chronic gut inflammation affects most of us.
Luckily, Quercetin’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the symptoms of inflammation and accelerate your recovery.
Lastly, multiple studies have shown that Quercetin has potent weight loss effects.
The key to increasing your daily Quercetin intake is to add more whole foods into your diet through simple yet effective methods.