Hypertension affects almost thirty percent of the population in the United States and, if uncontrolled, carries with it a significant risk of organ damage and premature death. The prescription medications used to treat hypertension are often associated with side effects ranging from decreased energy levels to sexual dysfunction. Because of the significant side effects of prescription anti-hypertensives, many people are looking for natural ways to control blood pressure. A recent study shows that a naturally occuring flavonoid known as quercetin may help to lower blood pressure. This is just one of the many benefits of quercetin that are intriguing.
What is quercentin? Quercetin is a potent anti-oxidant found in high concentrations in the skins and peels of citrus fruits, apples, and onions. The benefits of quercetin include anti-inflammatory properties as well as the capability of decreasing allergy symptoms by blocking the action of histamine. It also has anti-cancer properties according to the results of some studies. Its ability to act as a natural blood pressure reducer has also attracted the interest of the medical community.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 showed that supplementation with 730 milligrams of quercetin each day for a month caused significant drops in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures in a group of test subjects in the early stages of hypertension. Although this study only involved forty-one men and women, it shows the potential benefits of quercetin as a natural blood pressure reducer. Quercetin may also benefit the cardiovascular system in other ways since it’s been shown that individuals with high intakes of foods containing quercetin have lower risks of heart disease and stroke.
Although the benefits of quercetin may extend to lowering blood pressure in some people, quercetin supplements should never be used in place of prescription blood pressure medications without the advice of a doctor. If you have a significantly elevated blood pressure that’s difficult to control with prescription medications, it’s unlikely that quercetin alone will be enough to control it. It may best be used by individuals who have mildly elevated blood pressure or borderline readings rather than those with established hypertension.
What are the side effects of quercetin supplements? Quercetin may alter the level of some medications since it can reduce the ability of the liver to break them down. For this reason, before taking quercetin supplements you should always consult your doctor, particularly if you’re on any type of prescribed medication. It should also be avoided when you’re on antibiotics since it can alter the action of some of them. Quercetin supplements can be purchased in most health food stores and natural food markets.