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Flavonoids are continuing to receive an ample amount of attention for their biological activities. Four types of flavonoids have been researched for clinical use and include: polyphenols derived from tea, quercetin and its diverse molecular cousins, citrus bioflavonoids, and proanthocyanidins found in grapes and certain pine species.1 Due to this attention, quercetin, one of the most abundant flavonoids found in food, has become perhaps the most studied flavonoid today.2 Benefits of Quercetin* Quercetin gluosides, such as isoquercitrin, have been shown to be much more bioavailable.Quercetin has multiple influences on immune system function, aside from its most commonly known mast cell stabilizing activity.* Transcription factors involved in immune function are controlled by cytokines and quercetin appears to play a role.* Cytokines are a major part of the immune system and function as mediators within the immune system and hematopoiesis, which is the process of creating new blood cells. In vitro evidence demonstrates that quercetin downregulates cytokine gene expression and production in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, particularly NFkappaB expression and production.*3,4 Quercetin can block angiogenesis in vitro and other signaling pathways including insulin-like growth factor, components of MAPK, and quercetin's free radical scavenging activity is attributed to several actions.*4 Quercetin's ability to scavenge and bind transition metal ions affects lipid peroxidation.* Free radical scavenging and reducing inducible nitric oxide synthase activity provides a supportive effect in circulation.* Quercetin additionally supports vitamin C absorption.*5 A double-blind, cross-over study evaluating the effect of 150 mg of quercetin daily demonstrated support of cardiovascular health.*6 In macrophages, quercetin is metabolized to the active aglycone form by the enzyme -glucuronidase which leads to reduced expression of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cyclooxygenase (COX)-2.7 Food Sources of Quercetin Quercetin can be consumed through foods naturally containing quercetin or through supplementation. Quercetin primarily enters the diet as glycoside conjugates.8 One of the most abundant glycosidic forms present in plants is quercetin-3-glucoside (isoquercitrin), which is hydrolyzed in the small intestine and rapidly absorbed.8 Foods rich in isoquercitrin include leafy vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea, green tea, red wine, and some fruit juices. The amount of quercetin received from food is primarily dependent on an individual's dietary habits. Research has found a typical Western Diet provides approximately 0 to 30 mg of quercetin per day, but a diet rich in fruits and vegetables was estimated to provide more.1 It is also important to note, that the food content of quercetin reflects variations in soil quality, time of harvest, and storage conditions. Quercetin 3-O-glucodise (Isoquercitrin) Content in Food Food Amount Grapes, black (100 g) 2.17 mg Red Raspberry, raw (100 g) 3.58 mg Nectarine, whole (100 g) 0.11 mg Broccoli, raw (100 g) 1.80 mg Red onion, raw (100 g) 1.80 mg Black tea, infused (100 ml) 1.13 mg Red wine (100 ml) 1.14 mg
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