Quercetin Lowers Blood Pressure and Prevents Cholesterol Damage
Monday, May 17, 2010
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
A number of studies associate dietary flavonoids such as quercetin with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. In a double-blinded placebo controlled study published in the British Journal of Nutrition1 it was found that quercetin could help lower blood pressure while significantly preventing damage to LDL cholesterol. It is important to understand that only damaged LDL cholesterol (oxidized cholesterol) forms plaque. The study was done with 93 high cardiovascular risk overweight or obese individuals, age 25-65.
Several new studies show that quercetin, like grape seed extract, is a potent regulator of the production of friendly nitric oxide (eNOS)2 that relaxes your circulatory system and thus helps to lower blood pressure. On the other hand, quercetin was shown to block the production of unfriendly nitric oxide (iNOS)3 which is associate with inflammation, elevated blood pressure, and the progression of cardiovascular disease. These two studies demonstrate a primary mechanism by which quercetin supports blood pressure health.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol can be taken up by macrophages and eventually turned into plaque. A recent study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry4 detailed the precise mechanisms by which quercetin prevented oxidized LDL from forming plaque. In essence, quercetin stabilized macrophages and monocytes, preventing the typical adverse immune system activity that leads to plaque accumulation. This detailed study explains the results seen in the human trial.
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