Fisetin Benefits Are Stellar and Far-Reaching

August 28, 2017 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Fisetin Benefits Are Stellar and Far-Reaching
Fisetin, a dietary flavonoid, is a hidden gem. New research shows that fisetin offers some remarkable eye-opening benefits across a wide context. Fisetin is shown to combat chronic, low-grade persistent inflammation and provide significant benefits for memory, diabetic neuropathy, cancer, allergies, mercury exposure, liver damage, homocysteine clearance, osteoarthritis, and more. Here are some recent highlights pertaining to fisetin’s remarkable health influences throughout the body.

What Is Fisetin?


Fisetin is a dietary flavonoid found in various fruits (strawberries, apples, mangoes, persimmons, kiwis, and grapes), vegetables (tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers), nuts and even wine. Strawberries have the highest amount of any food. Apples and persimmons have 5-10 times less than strawberries and other foods have even less.

Fisetin is recognized as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, antidiabetic, heart protective, brain protective, cancer reducing agent, in cell and animal studies that model human disease. Each function that fisetin provides is an intervention against chronic, low-grade persistent inflammation. Chronic, low-grade persistent inflammation leads to disorders such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, COPD, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, arthritis, and many other concerns.

Western medicine struggles to find safe, non-toxic, non-surgical methods of managing this daily wear-and-tear. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Fisetin is one remarkable nutrient found in several foods and as a nutraceutical standardized extract that helps us adhere to this advice.

Fisetin and Cancer


Cancer prevention and augmentation of cancer treatment is a major area of study with fisetin. Preclinical studies show that the fisetin inhibits cancer cell growth by altering its cell cycle. It causes cancer cell death or apoptosis, disrupts blood supply to cancer cells, blocks cancer cell invasion and spreading of cancer. It does this without concern for toxicity. Usage of fisetin in cancer management occurs as a supplement or together with chemotherapy agents. Studies in the last year demonstrated that fisetin inhibits cancer cell proliferation in liver, colon, and pancreatic cancer, glioma cancer, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, prostate and bladder cancer, uterine/cervical cancer, melanomaovarian cancer, and kidney cancer. 

Results of the drug-fisetin chemotherapy/radiation combinations show a synergistic effect for various types of cancers. One recent cellular study on colon cancer showed that when fisetin was injected into the colon cancer tumor cells coupled with radiation treatment, fisetin significantly suppressed the abnormal growth more so than just the radiation.

When fisetin was added with breast cancer chemotherapy drugs, it caused a 20 percent increase in cancer cell death after just 24 hours. It increased to 30 percent after 48 hours. The same breast cancer study showed that when fisetin was used by itself, a 11% cell death occurred in 24 hours, and a 30 percent increase in cancer cell death after 48 hours. In triple-negative breast cancer cells, fisetin increased the effect of chemotherapy drugs and caused increased cell death. Indeed, fisetin demonstrates potent anti-cancer properties

Support for the Aging Brain


Fisetin may provide a taste of “the fountain of youth” for the aging brain. Animal studies provided evidence that fisetin helped protect the brain, reduced cognitive deficits, and improved nerve communications, stress tolerance, and inflammation management as seen with normal aging. Mental sharpness, speed, and mental toughness often decline with age, but fisetin may be added to any healthy aging program.

Probably the most critical antioxidant system for the brain and immune system pertains to glutathione. In nearly any disorder related with inflammation, aging, or tissue dysfunction, glutathione levels decline. Several nutrients are required to help make or recycle glutathione in the body. Scientists have shown previously that fisetin plays a role in glutathione production. New research unveils that fisetin helps maintain glutathione levels at rest, but it also helps other critical systems manage glutathione levels when under high levels of oxidative stress.

Years of research continues to confirm the efficacy of fisetin and other berries for brain protection and support with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In these disorders, “food be thy medicine” is critical because standard medical treatments have very little to offer. Fisetin and other berry flavonoids or polyphenols provide multiple supportive biological actions necessary for healthy brain function and maintenance. These helpful actions provide protection against inflammation, glutathione loss, protein tangles and aggregation and mitochondrial stress within the brain – critical elements for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease

Diabetic Neuropathy


Diabetics who suffer from neuropathy may want to ensure intake of fisetin. Recent animal studies show fisetin targets NF-kappa B and another critical compound involved with nerve inflammation and neuropathy. After fisetin was given to diabetic rats with sciatic neuropathy, it was determined that fisetin reduced and modulated these inflammatory markers. Dosage used was 5-10 mg/kg. The study showed that fisetin offered good therapeutic potential in diabetic neuropathy.

IgE Allergies


IgE allergies are the acute allergic responses with mast cell activation. Common scenarios include an anaphylactic response from peanut consumption or grass, pollen, or animal dander that leads to watery eyes, nasal congestion, etc, or a food that causes hives to develop. Due to fisetin’s power to inhibit inflammation, researchers questioned whether or not fisetin could help IgE-mediated allergic inflammation. Early research suggests that “fisetin may have potential as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of allergic disease.”

Norovirus


Norovirus, a highly contagious stomach flu bug which causes acute gastroenteritis, causes significant public health concerns. At least a few times each year, the media reports on norovirus outbreaks in schools, cruise ships, etc. There are no effective vaccines or antiviral medications that can stop this nasty virus. However, there is evidence that shows fisetin, along with flavonoids like quercetin, were beneficial in protection against the norovirus. Treatment prior to exposure inhibited the norovirus. This means that as school starts this fall, you may want to help boost your immune system and your children’s immune system with fisetin to help prevent norovirus illness.

Osteoarthritis


Degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis sufferers now have another very promising tool for joint health and pain management. Research published earlier this year on fisetin and arthritis showed that fisetin may be a potential agent in treatment of osteoarthritis. Animal studies showed that less cartilage destruction occurred. Fisetin inhibited several inflammatory chemicals like MMPs, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-1beta, COX-2, and iNOS, which are known to cause inflammation and joint/cartilage breakdown. Fisetin also reduced synovial inflammation or alleviated synovitis.

Estrogen Metabolism


A March 2017 publication found evidence that fisetin blocks the formation of the undesirable estradiol related with estrogen-dominate cancer. Scientists evaluated 17β-Estradiol (E2) which is broken down into 4-OHE2 via the cytochrome P450/CYP 1B1 pathway which is located in breast tissue, ovaries, and the uterus. When too much 4-OHE2 is formed by the CYP 1B1 pathway, cancer forms in these tissues. Fisetin blocked the pathway and inhibited the formation of 4-OHE2. This is one of the reasons why fisetin is sought after for its anticancer properties.

Homocysteine


The compound homocysteine can have a lot of adverse effects in the body when it builds up. Elevated homocysteine is related with several eye disorders like macular degeneration, retinal deterioration, and glaucoma. It is related with bone loss, migraines, heart disease and depression

Homocysteine support is often solely focused vitamin B6, B12, and folate. New animal studies identified that fisetin can help protect against the devastating effects of homocysteine that causes damage to the endothelial lining of blood vessels within the circulatory system and within the brain. This is a very positive report in that it may help protect the brain from vascular dementia, which may look similar to Alzheimer’s disease. This information is also beneficial for stroke and heart disease prevention.

Methylmercury – Neonatal Protection


A very hot topic in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders pertains to mercury or methyl mercury exposure. If pregnant mothers are exposed to this during pregnancy, it is known to cause irreversible cognitive damage to the unborn child. No drugs are available to treat this. In the June 2017 Biological Trace Elements Research journal, researchers evaluated the effect of fisetin on methyl mercury exposure during pregnancy in animal studies.

The results of the study showed that fisetin decreased oxidative stress markers, improved antioxidant levels, and helped with cell membrane function and neurotransmitter-acetylcholine function. Fisetin reduced the neurotoxic effects of the dangerous methyl mercury. In this animal study, the best outcome occurred with 10 mg of fisetin per kilogram.

Alcohol Induced Liver Stress


Alcohol ingestion creates significant oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species especially within the liver and brain. Overtime, it leads to accumulation of fat within the liver and elevated liver enzymes (ALT/AST). A recent study on mice fed with alcohol and that had incurred alcohol induced liver injury were give fisetin for four weeks. Fisetin accelerated the clearance of alcohol out of the liver and plasma. It blocked fatty liver development and reduced oxidative stress from the alcohol.

Epilepsy/Seizures


Seizures that occur because of severe brain injury are considered difficult to treat. Some clinical studies note that trauma-induced seizures are not prevented by anti-seizure medications and long-term use actually increases ROS (reactive oxygen species) free radical damage. There is some indication that fisetin exerts anticonvulsant effects in experimental studies. Because trauma-induced seizures are so challenging to manage, scientists looked to fisetin and its reputable antioxidant effects on the brain for help. Fisetin pretreatment in very high doses was shown to prevent trauma induced seizures caused by significant oxidative stress in rats.

Finding resources to healthfully manage any one of these topics is a gold mine. When you see the depth and breadth of support that one plant-based nutrient provides, it becomes stellar. Fisetin is in that stellar category. Fisetin supplementation can be combined with other polyphenols and flavonoids found in a diet filled with diverse, colorful fruits and vegetables. Strawberries have the highest content of fisetin, but other fruits and vegetables have small amounts present. This invokes the need to have a diet rich in berries and variety to provide our basic antioxidant needs. For those who want or need to be more proactive, a standardized extract is preferred. To achieve the standardized extract dose, you would have to consume several pounds of strawberries per day. Consider incorporating fisetin into your daily supplement routine. It provides some “berry” amazing benefits.

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