Key Allergy Nutrients To Supplement For Allergy Season: Quercetin, Bromelain, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine
APRIL 2022 | Dr. Ashley Southern
Quercetin is a flavonoid that compliments the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C:
Quercetin is a flavonoid, a plant compound, found in several foods (like onions, apples, berries, teas, and red wine) and herbs including St. John’s wort and Gingko. It has many uses, but a popular use is for allergy season!
Quercetin’s anti-allergic effects are numerous – it acts as a natural antihistamine, blocking release of histamine from the mast cells that secrete it; some research even suggests that it inhibits the actual production of mast cells in the first place. What this means for you is that you have less histamine circulating in your body, and less even being produced from the source, and therefore less sniffles and sneezes!
Quercetin is also an awesome anti-inflammatory as well, being hailed as nature’s NSAID (think ibuprofen or aspirin); it inhibits COX-2 enzyme and NF Kappa B, which both control an inflammatory cytokine cascade, most notably in rheumatoid arthritis It also shows promising results in recovery of muscle damage from intense exercise. It can also be applied to other inflammatory disease like diabetes or metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) – afterall, the root of most diseases is inflammation!
Just as other flavonoids are, Quercetin is a potent anti-oxidant, making Quercetin a top contender for well-rounded immune support supplement overall. It shows activity against oxidation due to many toxins that break down into dangerous free radicals in the body; studies have used quercetin to prevent oxidation of heavy metals and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). It also increases phase-2 detoxification of damaging oxidants and carcinogens (cancer causing molecules). However, it can also cause oxidation at higher doses, so be sure to consult your naturopathic physician before taking Quercetin.
Other Astounding Actions of Quercetin:
• Anti-cancer: inhibits survival of cancer cells and induces the destruction of replicating cancer cells, seen in lung cancer, breast, colon, pancreatic, ovary, leukemia, gastric, and endometrial cancers.
• Anti-obesity: prelim inary research shows quercetin may halt preadipocyte production (baby fat cells) and may stimulate lipolysis (breaking open fat cells) in vitro.
• Anti-viral: quercetin shows some actions against retroviruses like herpes, parainfluenza, and RSV; it may even block replication and reduce infectivity of these viruses • Heart disease: might prevent blood vessel wall thickening and plaque buildup, as quercetin also inhibits LDL oxidation.
• Blood sugar: quercetin increased levels of a hormone called adiponectin in humans, which regulates glues metabolism, showing improvement with glucose dysregulation (think diabetes and prediabetes)
Bromelain Is A Proteolytic (Breaks Apart Proteins) Enzyme From Pineapple, Not To Be Confused With Papain, Another Proteolytic Enzyme From Papaya.
Quercetin’s Anti-Inflammatory Friend
Like Quercetin, bromelain is a great anti-inflammatory as it inhibits prostaglandin and production of other inflammatory proteins. It has been shown to prevent swelling (another form of inflammation) in animals. It has some interesting dermatological properties, as it is commonly used in wound debridement (removal of damaged tissue in a wound) since it breaks down proteins and amino acids. Due to it’s added antiviral and immune modulating properties, it may be beneficial for pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC), a skin disease caused by viral or bacterial trigger).
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is a Derivative of the Amino Acid L-Cysteine.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is another fantastic nutrient crucial to antioxidation pathways – it is the precursor to Glutathione, one of the most potent antioxidants your body makes. NAC eventually turns into glutathione after it crosses the cell membrane. From here, glutathione can work to fight reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals, both of which are damaging to cell membranes, DNA, and more. NAC is a nice way to replenish glutathione stores.
NAC also has antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects; I use this nutrient in almost every disease state, since it addresses so many different aspects. As it relates to allergies, NAC is a sulfur containing molecule that coincidentally breaks up sulfide bonds in mucous and biofilms (that’s the slimy layer over your teeth when you wake up in the morning). As such, it is a tremendous help for congestion as it thins out mucous and subsequently drain the sinuses.
Schedule An Appointment With Your Naturopathic Doctor To Assess Whether Quercetin Is Safe For You To Take!
Check out our special throughout the month of April, a Quercetin addition to your IV nutrient bag! We recommend following it up with a Glutathione push.
• A great product that incorporates all 3 herbs is DHIST by Orthomolecular, found on our clinic’s Fullscript dispensary.
• Quercetin Phytosome by Thorne Research created a quercetain phytosome for enhanced absorption across cell membrances.
• Their Quercenase contains both Quercetin phytosome and bromelain.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
• Therapeutic Research Center. (2022). Bromelain. Natural Medicines Database. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from here
• Therapeutic Research Center. (2022). Quercetin. Natural Medicines Database. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from here
• Musiek, A. (2020). Pityriasis lichenoides chronica. UpToDate. Retrieved April 2, 2022 from here.