For AGING WITH VITALITY, quercetin with bromelain has potent immune-boosting, antioxidant, and demonstrated anti-inflammatory actions that remove damaged cells which can accelerate aging. As we age, increasing numbers of dysfunctional, non-dividing senescent cells accumulate. These outworn cells are removed by the immune system, but in our senior years, this system declines and senescent cells increasingly build up. Quercetin can positively influence this aging process, removing old cells by inducing time-appropriate apoptosis or cell death. Bromelain magnifies the benefits of quercetin in boosting immune health and enhancing youthfulness of tissues.
If senescent cells accumulate, they cause chronic and excessive inflammation. This leads to an altered intracellular signaling environment through an imbalance of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, chemokines, and proteins. These are known collectively as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. The specific type of inflammation that follows is believed to be one driver of the aging process.
For aging well, quercetin shows promising benefits for scavenging free radicals and reducing tissue and DNA damage, and for mitigating oxidative stress on red blood cells. This can boost healthy oxygen delivery to all tissues. Quercetin also has the ability to calm and balance the body’s pro-inflammatory pathways and down-regulate enzymes and hormones responsible for the inflammatory response. By neutralizing oxygen free radicals and reactive molecules of nitrogen, quercetin shields tissues from oxidative damage. In regard to aging with vitality, quercetin increases the number and function of mitochondria, the energy-producing factories found in cells, providing a profound boost to the central nervous system and entire metabolism.
Quercetin is a flavonol, one member of the plant-derived family known as antioxidant flavonoids. These give plants their color, and belong to a class of micronutrients called polyphenols. Quercetin is sometimes referred to as the “master flavonoid” because it is well-researched, and abundant in dark, vibrant-colored vegetables, fruits, nuts, honey, and medicinal herbs. Although there are several dietary sources of quercetin, it is hard to consume a sufficient quantity in food to reach a therapeutic level.
In vitro research and human epidemiologic studies confirm a long list of desirable health benefits from quercetin. These benefits include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, immunomodulatory, and cardio-protective actions. Quercetin can benefit athletes as it helps heal injuries and can also reduce the risk of diseases caused by oxidative damage or inflammation. In trials on quercetin’s protective effects, extreme exercise is used because it causes oxidative damage and inflammation and mimics the effect of trauma and surgery. For graceful aging, quercetin brings the same protection for the heart, for muscles, and for the immune system.
A fascinating 2010 study specifically identified quercetin as a proteasome activator with antioxidant properties that prolongs lifespan and rejuvenates human cells. It can improve the survival and viability of human fibroblasts, the ubiquitous connective tissue cells. Most importantly, when quercetin was supplemented to already senescent fibroblasts, a rejuvenating effect was observed. This proved that quercetin promoted physiological alterations that make cells younger and longer-lived.1
Quercetin shields DNA from damage. A landmark 2004 study was carried out to investigate the protective effects of quercetin against a mutagenic anticancer drug that can cause DNA damage. Its protective effect was found to be dose dependent, meaning that higher quercetin doses bring increased protection and less DNA damage. In human lymphocytes quercetin displayed protective effects on DNA damage induced by the drug.2
Quercetin is thought to encourage gene expression in favor of youthful characteristics. Our patients who take quercetin regularly have observed smoother skin, less joint pain, sounder sleep, and improved energy. Further research results on quercetin’s influence on DNA expression are due in soon.
For the nervous system, quercetin reduces neurodegeneration from oxidative stress, as found in a 2008 study. The study results showed that nerve cell viability was clearly improved with quercetin. Impressively, quercetin showed a greater protective effect for the brain and peripheral nerves than vitamin C. Quercetin was also observed to protect neuronal cell membranes against injury from oxidative stress, and is more effective than vitamin C. These results suggest that quercetin contributes significantly to shielding nerve cells, and to reducing neurotoxicity from environmental or internal metabolic oxidative damage. Quercetin can thus offer significant protection against Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to many other biological benefits.3
Clinical trials indicate that quercetin brings major cardiovascular benefits, and reduce clogging of blood vessels. Quercetin protects ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized and sticky, thus reducing the risk that LDL could be deposited in arteries. Researchers analyzed the diets of 115 Japanese women and noted that ‘a high consumption of both flavonoids and isoflavones by Japanese women may contribute to their low incidence of coronary heart disease compared with women in other countries.’4
Bromelain is a complex of protein-digesting enzymes, also known as proteases, that break down proteins into their constituent amino acids. A clinically effective dose of bromelain enhances quercetin absorption by helping to move quercetin from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. In this way, bromelain magnifies the efficacy of quercetin. Bromelain, a plant-derived proteolytic enzyme from pineapple, is also a n highly effective anti-inflammatory in its own right. It can help to relieve joint and connective tissue pain, and reduce C-reactive protein, the inflammation marker.
Additionally, quercetin brings greater benefits when it is bonded to sunflower-sourced phospholipids which are also chief components of human cell membranes: this complex, called a phytosome, is easily recognized by the body. This phospholipid complex is better absorbed because it is protected from destruction by digestive secretions and gut bacteria. The phytosome complex chaperones quercetin highly efficiently across the epithelial cell membrane barrier of the intestine into the bloodstream, so that greater amounts of quercetin reach the tissues, making quercetin much more available for cells to use.
In our clinic, many of our mature patients take quercetin with bromelain for healthy aging. They notice improvements in joint and muscle inflammation or pain, and they like the ongoing protection for the cardiovascular system, nervous system protection, and for maintaining youthful skin tone.
Recommendation: Quercetin 500 mg in a sunflower phospholipid phytosome complex, with bromelain 200 mg, taken once or twice daily, best between meals; or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Chondrogianni, Niki, et al. “Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin.” Experimental gerontology 45.10 (2010): 763-771.
- Ündeğer, Ülkü, et al. “The modulating effects of quercetin and rutin on the mitomycin C induced DNA damage.” Toxicology letters 151.1 (2004): 143-149.
- Heo, Ho Jin, and Chang Yong Lee. “Protective effects of quercetin and vitamin C against oxidative stress-induced neurodegeneration.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52.25 (2004): 7514-7517.
- Boots, A. W., Haenen, G. R., Bast, A. (2008). Health effects of quercetin: from antioxidant to nutraceutical. European Journal of Pharmacology, 585(2), 325-337.
- Arai, Yusuke, et al. “Dietary intakes of flavonols, flavones and isoflavones by Japanese women and the inverse correlation between quercetin intake and plasma LDL cholesterol concentration.” The Journal of nutrition 130.9 (2000): 2243-2250.
- Hanasaki, Y., Ogawa, S., Fukui, S. (1994). The correlation between active oxygens scavenging and antioxidative effects of flavonoids. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 16(6), 845-850.
- López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell, 153(6), 1194-1217.
- van Deursen, J. M. (2014). The role of senescent cells in ageing. Nature, 509(7501), 439-446.
- Zhu, Y., Tchkonia, T., Pirtskhalava, et al, (2015). The Achilles’ heel of senescent cells: from transcriptome to senolytic drugs. Aging cell, 14(4), 644-658.
- Roos, C. M., Zhang, B., et al (2016). Chronic senolytic treatment alleviates established vasomotor dysfunction in aged or atherosclerotic mice. Aging Cell, 15(5), 973-977.