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What Is Quercetin? An MD On Its Anti-Inflammatory Powers

As one of the top functional medicine doctors in the country, Frank Lipman, MD, is asked a wide range of health-related questions every single day. Sometimes they’re tied to something specific trending in the wellness space: Is collagen overrated? (Nope.) Is oat milk? (Possibly.) Other times, it’s about how to get a better night’s sleep. But all the queries seem to be rooted in an even bigger question: how to live a long, healthy life.

Longevity seems to be at the heart of every question he’s asked, so Dr. Lipman decided to write a whole book dedicated to the topic: The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program For Immunity Resilience, Strength, and Vitality ($20), out October 27, 2020. Tucked in the pages are some “rules” you’re likely familiar with, like cutting back on sugar and having a strong sense of purpose. But there are also some surprising things that have been scientifically linked to longevity that aren’t as widely talked about. One of those truth bombs is centered around an anti-inflammatory compound called quercetin.

Never heard of it? Quercetin is a polyphenol derived in plants that is connected to lowering inflammation, supporting the immune system, and, yes, longevity. “Besides curcumin, quercetin is one of the most important supplements for both immunity and longevity,” Dr. Lipman says. Looks like turmeric has some competition.

What is quercetin?

Before we dig deep into all the benefits quercetin boasts, it’s helpful to know what the heck it actually is. Dr. Lipman explains that quercetin is a type of polyphenol, which are micronutrients with antioxidant properties found in plants. Some foods that have this particular type of polyphenol are apples, onion, raspberries, red grapes, and cherries.

Quercetin has lots of benefits, but Dr. Lipman is most excited about its connection with longevity. “One is that it affects longevity gene pathways in a positive way, specifically activating AMPK [a protein enzyme],” he says. AMPK helps regulate cellular metabolism; when cellular energy is low, AMPK is called in for backup to keep the body running as it should. It also controls cellular autophagy, aka the clearing out of damaged cells. And recent research suggests that the enzyme can potentially delay the aging process as well. One paper published in the journal Discoveries states that AMPK activation increased the life of fruit flies by as much as 30 percent.

“Quercetin is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and immunity-boosting,” Dr. Lipman adds—properties that are important for longevity. To his point, chronic inflammation is associated with many age-related health problems, including cognitive decline and cancer, so managing inflammation is often seen as crucial for living a longer, healthier life. Meanwhile, the immune system weakens with age, making it harder for the body to fight off illness, so keeping it in tip-top shape is critical. Quercetin also supports gut health; since a huge portion of the immune system lies in the gut, “keeping your gut healthy is very important to immunity,” says Dr. Lipman.

Don’t worry curcumin, we still

Oxford to study anti-inflammatory drug Humira as potential COVID-19 treatment



a close up of a fish: FILE PHOTO: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19


© Reuters/Social Media
FILE PHOTO: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19

By Josephine Mason and Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) – Oxford University said on Wednesday it would study whether the world’s best-selling prescription medicine, adalimumab, was an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients – the latest effort to repurpose existing drugs as potential coronavirus therapies.

Adalimumab, which is sold under the brand name Humira by AbbVie, is a type of anti-inflammatory known as an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 patients already taking anti-TNF drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis are less likely to be admitted to hospital, Oxford said in a statement.



a screen shot of a computer: FILE PHOTO: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Oldham


© Reuters/PHIL NOBLE
FILE PHOTO: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Oldham

Oxford’s trial, called AVID-CC, will be aimed at treating people in the community, especially in care homes, the university said. It will enrol up to 750 patients from community care settings throughout Britain.

Humira is used to treat a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and psoriasis.

The availability of biosimilar versions of the medicine would make it affordable and accessible if the trial is successful, Oxford said. Novartis makes one of the alternatives, Hyrimoz.

Research has identified some treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients, including Gilead’s remdesivir as well as the generic steroid drug dexamethasone.

Researchers have also studied other anti-inflammatory drugs for treating COVID-19. Severe infections are believed to be triggered by an over-reaction of the immune system, known as a cytokine storm, and drugs that suppress certain elements of the immune system can play a role in arresting a rapid escalation of symptoms.

But there are as yet no effective therapies for people who are not admitted to hospital.

Care homes were particularly hard hit by the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK and other countries. If Humira were successful against COVID-19, this could help some older people who are some of most vulnerable, it said, at a time when governments are struggling to contain the pandemic.

The Oxford study is funded by the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator initiative set up by global health charity Wellcome, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Kate Kelland in London and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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