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There has been a significant interest in quercetin in recent years, especially as it has to do with the search for the elixir of youth. More scientists are looking into this compound, which boasts properties that are potentially helpful for promoting great health.
In terms of fighting or reversing aging, does quercetin truly help? What has research shown on the anti-aging benefits that can be obtained? We explore these questions in this article.
What is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a flavonoid, a type of pigment found in plants. It belongs to a group of phytochemicals known as polyphenols. This substance ranks among the most widely-occurring polyphenols and is present abundantly in nature.
The flavonoid is the pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their colorful look. Sunlight plays a critical role in its production, so leaves and fruits with direct access to light may have more of it.
Phytochemicals, such as quercetin, are believed to hold numerous benefits for human health. This is because of the properties that they contain. Quercetin holds impressive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. Research suggests that it also has anti-carcinogenic properties.
What Anti-Aging Benefits Can You Get From Quercetin?
A number of studies have looked at the potential of this flavonoid in reversing or slowing the aging process. These range from in-vitro experiments to animal models, and even human studies. The following are some of the promising anti-aging benefits you can get from quercetin, per research.
Protection against oxidative stress
Being rich in antioxidants, quercetin could prove useful in easing oxidative stress, which is a big issue in aging. These properties help to check the production of free radicals that play a role in oxidative stress.
A 2016 study that appeared in the journal RSC Advances suggests that this may be because flavonoids such as quercetin increase the levels of glutathione (GSH) and sulfhydryl (-SH) groups while reducing malondialdehyde (MDA) levels.
Studies also show that quercetin could help to improve immune function. Chronic inflammation is a serious issue in the aging process. With its anti-inflammatory properties, the flavonoid can block certain inflammatory pathways to help boost immune response.
Research published in the Journal of Natural Products showed that quercetin regulates the cell membrane of basophils and mast cells to keep them from releasing their pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF-alpha.
Control of cellular senescence
As people get older, their cells begin to lose the ability to divide. This is referred to as cellular senescence, a feature of aging. Research indicates that quercetin may help control this with its effect on signaling pathways linked to these cellular processes. Tissue and organ aging may slow down as a result.
Research published in Cell Death & Disease shows that the compound reduced the degree of senescence in mice. It also caused a 15% increase in the lifespan of C. elegans.
Treatment of diabetes
Quercetin may offer a low-cost means of managing type 2 diabetes mellitus, known to be more common among older adults. Studies – including one that appeared in Scientific Reports – show that it could be useful for treating or preventing this condition.
The use of the flavonoid in mouse models of diabetes resulted in reduced blood sugar and triglycerides in one 2021 study. This benefit is linked to the phytochemical’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Quercetin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as its chemoprotective activities make it potentially useful for cancer prevention and treatment. A 2019 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences showed that the flavonoid reduces cell proliferation, inhibits mitotic events, and induces cell death.
Research suggests that its anticancer effects are similar across cancers in different parts of the body.
Other potential anti-aging benefits of quercetin include protection against neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, reduction of blood pressure, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
What Foods Have the Most Quercetin?
Luckily, this compound is present in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is regarded as the most plentiful antioxidant in the human diet.
Onions have the highest amount of quercetin, according to researchers. And, being a pigment, red onions contain the most amount of the flavonoid.
Other foods that are also rich in quercetin include:
- Tea (green and black)
- Red grapes
- Red wine
It helps to note that research into the benefits of quercetin is still ongoing. Although available results look promising, more human studies are still needed to prove these benefits.
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