~ 022507 Quercetin May Help Reduce Illness

Quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant found in plants, may help reduce illness and maintain mental performance in individuals under physical stress, according to new research conducted at Appalachian State University. Study results are to be presented Feb. 9 at the southeastern regional meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Charlotte , N.C.

Study subjects were cyclists in training. Researchers provided the test group of 20 subjects with 1,000 mg per day of quercetin while a second group of 20 cyclists received a placebo. After three weeks of supplementation participants rode a bicycle three hours a day for three days to the point of exhaustion; blood and tissue samples were taken to track physiological changes. Following the extreme exercise, 45% of the cyclists taking the placebo reported illness, compared to only 5% of the quercetin group.

Researchers found that the immune-boosting properties of quercetin did not take effect until after the three-day intense exercise period, suggesting that it takes significant stress to bring out quercetin’s infection-fighting properties. They stated that the benefits of quercetin became apparent when athletes were under high oxidative stress, stress hormones were high, and they were undergoing muscle damage. In addition athletes taking quercetin were found to score better on an alertness test while exhausted. Those in the placebo group had measurably slower reaction times. There was no evidence of any adverse effects from taking quercetin.

The bioflavonoids (polyphenols) Quercetin and Rutin, are particularly potent antioxidants. Polyphenols form the deep red and blue pigments in grapes and berries which most recently have been identified with the health benefits of red wine. Bioflavonoids and other antioxidants strengthen the immune system and suppress release of inflammatory compounds such as leukotrienes. Bioflavonoids also help prevent conditions of capillary fragility such as, varicose veins, bruising, hemorrhoids and nosebleeds.

Bioflavonoids such as Quercetin and Rutin may be of particular benefit to hay fever sufferers. When allergic individuals are exposed to Spring pollen, their sinus mucosal tissue become irritated and produce excessive mucus in a natural but extreme antibody reaction. Bioflavonoids in general and quercetin in particular may inhibit the histamine release of the mast cells of the mucosa, significantly reducing hay fever symptoms. Also bioflavonoids do not cause drowsiness or other unpleasant side effects associated with hay fever medications.

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