With the advent of flu season, many Americans feel they have no choice but to brace themselves for an inevitable bout of coughing, aching, feverish misery. It turns out that the much-touted flu vaccine that is being pushed unceasingly by federal health authorities may not be so effective after all. (Not to mention its hefty helpings of neurotoxins and contamination with the weed-killer glyphosate)Thankfully, there is a better way: With an assist from a safe, natural plant-based compound, you can boost your body’s immunity and combat viral infections – including influenza A and B.
Quercetin: A natural disease-fighting powerhouse antioxidant
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid and potent antioxidant found in plants, where it functions to help them survive harsh weather conditions, while warding off infections and blight. Quercetin’s strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties make it a very promising treatment for combatting infections in humans as well.
How does quercetin fight viruses?
Viruses take hold by overwhelming the immune system with toxins and inflammation, while depleting the body’s natural stores of antioxidants. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory effects, combined with its ability to enhance the immune system and reduce oxidative damage, allow it to assist the body’s natural defense system in defeating viruses. By interfering with their replication cycle, quercetin also stops viruses from spreading.
Although many viruses and bacteria have the ability to mutate and become resistant to pharmaceutical antivirals and antibiotics, researchers say this isn’t the case with quercetin – making quercetin, and other natural flu-fighters such as vitamin C and resveratrol, an important ally in the battle against pathogens.
What does the research show about quercetin and its flu-fighting capabilities?
Numerous laboratory, animal and clinical studies have demonstrated that quercetin raises immunity to the flu.
In a study published in American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, seven days of pre-treatment with quercetin caused mice to be significantly more resistant to influenza when researchers inoculated them with it after inducing them to exercise to fatigue.
The study involved exercise because researchers wanted to see if quercetin supplementation could overcome the temporary immune-suppressant effect of strenuous activity. In fact, it did; the results demonstrated that quercetin neutralized this effect, causing the supplemented mice to be more resistant to influenza.
Additional research supports quercetin’s ability to fight viruses in humans
In a double-blind clinical trial published in 2010 in Pharmacology Research, scientists wanted to explore the effectiveness of 500- and 1000-mg doses of quercetin against upper respiratory tract infections.
Quercetin-supplemented subjects over age 40 who rated themselves as physically fit – and who took the 1,000-mg dose for twelve weeks – experienced a significant 36 percent reduction in the severity of respiratory tract infections. They also reported a 31 percent reduction in sick days due to colds. In other words, quercetin reduced the severity of upper respiratory tract infections — and their impact on work attendance – by a third.
And, an additional placebo-controlled clinical study demonstrated that five weeks of quercetin supplementation caused athletes to be less susceptible to viral illnesses than athletes who had not received the supplements.
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It’s official: Quercetin outperforms Tamiflu
An animal study showed that quercetin not only reduces susceptibility to viruses, but can reduce their severity and symptoms – in some cases more effectively than drugs. In a 2012 study published in Phytotherapy Research, researchers treated mice with quercetin for six days after the mice had been infected with Influenza A virus.
The team reported that the treated mice had significantly less symptoms and significantly higher survival rates compared to mice in the control group.
But that’s not the most remarkable part of the study. Viral concentrations in the lungs were found to be an amazing 2,000 times lower than levels in mice that had not been treated. And, the levels were two times lower than levels in mice treated with oseltamivir, a pharmaceutical medication marketed as Tamiflu.
Quercetin’s infection-fighting abilities aren’t limited to influenza
The bioflavonoid also blocks the replication of the rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold.
And it is effective against bacteria, as well. In one study, quercetin reduced the inflammatory response and rate of infection of H. pylori, the pathogen responsible for stomach ulcers that can lead to cancer. Quercetin also lowered inflammatory response against salmonella.
How should I use quercetin to raise immunity?
Some clinical studies showing benefits from quercetin were conducted on participants with quercetin-rich diets. You can increase your dietary intake of quercetin simply by eating plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables – including apples, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, blackberries, blueberries and onions.
Quercetin supplements are available in pill, capsule or liposomal form. Some naturopathic physicians advise a dosage of 1,000 mg of quercetin a day for increased immunity against infection.
Quercetin, which has no reported side effects, is considered to be safe. However, it can interact with certain medications, including antibiotics, anticoagulants, immune system drugs and corticosteroids. So, as always, we encourage you to talk to your physician before making any changes to your diet or supplement routine.