Quercetin is a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, and it has been gaining interest in recent years due to its enhancing effects on the immune system, including its ability to moderate allergic reactions.
But beyond these extremely useful functions, quercetin may have another superpower – stopping cancer.
Worldwide, cancer is the second leading cause of death. One projection predicts that there will be a 63 percent increase in all types of cancer by the year 2040. Because of quercetin’s actions along many pathways in the body, including in the mitochondria, the engine of the cell, researchers are intensively studying its anticancer potential.
So far, the results are encouraging in a variety of ways. To begin with, while quercetin prevents damage to healthy cells at low concentrations, it actually causes oxidative damage in cancer cells. It stops the process of cancer cell division that leads to tumor growth, and it shuts down the cellular engines of cancer cells. In scientific research, low dosages of quercetin have been shown to inhibit a number of cancer cell lines, including non-small lung cancer, melanoma, glioblastoma, colon cancer, breast and prostate cancer.
If you are thinking of adding quercetin to your regimen, whether as an immune booster or to simply protect your body at a cellular level, consider looking for a formula that includes vitamin C, which helps recycle the nutrient in the body, and find a supplement that includes quercetin combined with gamma cyclodextrin, an oligosaccharide that helps the nutrient absorb more efficiently.
Reyes-Farias M, Carrasco-Pozo C. The Anti-Cancer Effect of Quercetin: Molecular Implications in Cancer Metabolism. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jun 28;20(13):3177. doi: 10.3390/ijms20133177. PMID: 31261749; PMCID: PMC6651418.
Cancer is a problem with worldwide importance and is the second leading cause of death globally. Cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to support their uncontrolled expansion by increasing biomass (anabolic metabolism-glycolysis) at the expense of their energy (bioenergetics- mitochondrial function) requirements. In this aspect, metabolic reprogramming stands out as a key biological process in understanding the conversion of a normal cell into a neoplastic precursor. Quercetin is the major representative of the flavonoid subclass of flavonols. Quercetin is ubiquitously present in fruits and vegetables, being one of the most common dietary flavonols in the western diet. The anti-cancer effects of quercetin include its ability to promote the loss of cell viability, apoptosis and autophagy through the modulation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR, Wnt/-catenin, and MAPK/ERK1/2 pathways. In this review, we discuss the role of quercetin in cancer metabolism, addressing specifically its ability to target molecular pathways involved in glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function.