Quercetin as Anti-Flu Support

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Quercetin as Anti-Flu Support
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Here is a question: What do grapevine leaves do when they come under attack from a viral infection? Answer: make more quercetin for their natural defense. There is no question that quercetin is active against many viral infections including the flu.

I first reported on quercetin’s flu-fighting ability in a 2008 article, Quercetin Reduces Flu Susceptibility. This animal study showed that quercetin could reduce flu when animals were intentionally exposed. I followed this with an extensive review article, Quercetin: A Rising Star for Nerves, Immunity, and Metabolism. This article details a number of studies showing that quercetin interferes with viral replication in a number of viruses including the flu.

Another animal study found that quercetin inhibits both influenza A and B viruses, and viruses were not able to develop resistance to quercetin treatment. When quercetin was used with anti-viral drugs the anti-viral effect was even stronger, and the quercetin prevented the development of resistance to the drugs that otherwise occurs. Studies like this support the synergistic combination of medical care with quercetin.

If a person gets the flu, the severity of any infection is based on the ability of the flu virus to overwhelm the human body's natural defense system, causing a state of inflammatory and toxic overload concurrent with exhaustion of the antioxidant defense system. Various antioxidant nutrients are also known to have anti-viral properties, including quercetin, NAC, resveratrol, vitamin C, and green tea. Scientists who reviewed the science on this topic concluded, “The combination of antioxidants with antiviral drugs synergistically reduces the lethal effects of influenza virus infections. These results suggest that an agent [nutrient] with antiviral and antioxidant activities could be a drug of choice for the treatment of patients with severe influenza-associated complications.”

The data shows that quercetin, as well as a number of other synergistic antioxidants, makes common sense during the cold and flu season, as well as lends a hand any time you are fighting a bug. Nutrients do not replace appropriate medical care in case of the flu; they act synergistically to enhance it.

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