With the flu season upon us, health authorities are urging Americans to receive their annual flu shot – a vaccine that is loaded with neurotoxins and very possibly completely ineffective. Not surprisingly, many are saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to the shot, choosing to rely instead on a healthy lifestyle and natural immune-boosters to avoid the flu.Now, it looks like they may have a powerful new ally in quercetin, a potent flavonoid and phytonutrient found in many healthy foods and online.
New research reveals: A great reason to consume quercetin
Last week, a group of Chinese scientists released a study showing that quercetin can actually block the flu virus from entering cells – which the virus needs to do in order to live and replicate. The team conducted the study by adding quercetin to cells prior to infecting them with influenza, and found that the quercetin-treated cells had significantly lower rates of infection than the cells that had not been treated – an obvious inhibitory effect.
Quercetin was found to be effective against Influenza A, as well as its subtypes H1N1 and H3N1. It was also found to work against H5N1, or avian flu – a particularly dangerous subtype with a 60 percent mortality rate. Researchers characterized quercetin as having the potential to be a safe, effective and affordable treatment for Influenza A viruses.
But how exactly does quercetin defeat the influenza virus?
Viruses survive by cellular invasion, in which they penetrate the host cell membrane. To do this, they use two viral proteins, known as H and N. Scientists have been studying the way viruses attack cells for years, and are now looking into natural strategies for blocking the process.
The team noted that quercetin blocked the H protein and, along with it, virus entry. This finding showed that quercetin was effective when added during the process of virus infection, rather than post-virus infection. In other words, quercetin stopped the influenza virus in its tracks, near the beginning of the infection process – which consists of attachment, entry, replication and release.
Also encouraging is the fact that viruses are not able to develop resistance to quercetin. In fact, when quercetin was used with anti-viral drugs, it prevented the development of resistance that otherwise would occur. This is an immense benefit, as for years scientists have been concerned about viruses’ ability to mutate and become resistant to antiviral drugs.
This recent study is not the only one that has been conducted on quercetin and influenza. Earlier research showed that quercetin could protect patients from dying from severe complications of H1N1.
The most recent study, published in Viruses in 2016, can be viewed here.
Quercetin has multiple health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease and cancer
Quercetin is more than an antiviral; it’s also antibacterial and a great anti-inflammatory substance.
Quercetin has been shown to regulate the immune system and reduce the incidence of the common cold among athletes after prolonged physical exertion. And its benefits don’t end there – quercetin can help prevent life-threatening chronic diseases. According to Dr. David Nieman, Director of the Human Performance Lab at North Carolina Research Center, “Epidemiological data indicates reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer on groups self-selecting diets high in quercetin.”
Quercetin’s cardioprotective effects are probably due to the fact that it lowers blood pressure, reduces damage from harmful LDL cholesterol and may protect against the buildup of plaque in the arteries. In addition, laboratory studies have confirmed that it has anti-thrombitic qualities, not only preventing formation of blood clots but helping to disperse those that have already formed in blood vessels – thereby helping to prevent strokes.
And it may help alleviate arthritis. In a report in the 2008 issue of the Journal of Pre-Clinical and Clinical Research, researchers gave study participants 750 milligrams of quercetin a day, and noted that quercetin’s anti-inflammatory qualities allowed it to ease arthritis pain within two to three days.
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What are good sources of quercetin?
Quercetin is found naturally in apples – particularly the skins – as well as onions, grapes, citrus fruits, peppers, tea and red wine. It also occurs in parsley, olive oil, dark cherries, and darker-colored berries such as blueberries and blackberries. Of course, you should always opt for organic foods and produce.
Quercetin is also available as a supplement. If you are considering quercetin supplementation, discuss the matter with a trusted holistic doctor to tailor a dosage that is right for you.
The researchers who discovered quercetin’s virus-blocking qualities had been searching for new and natural strategies to use against the flu, rather than relying on vaccines. In their words, it is “almost impossible to produce a timely and sufficiently effective vaccine to prevent epidemic outbreaks.”
This is exactly what natural health experts have been saying all along; the quercetin research is an exciting step in the right direction.