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Quercetin Asthma Treatment

written by: Veronica Sky • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/30/2011

Learn about the quercetin asthma treatment and whether or not it is the right treatment option for you. Quercetin is a type of antioxidant, which falls into the flavonoid class of antioxidants. It has also been found to treat conditions associated with inflammation such as asthma.

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    Asthma: An Overview

    Prior to understanding why the quercetin asthma treatment is effective in treating this condition, it is important to understand what exactly asthma is. Contrary to popular belief, asthma is not solely a respiratory condition; it is characterized more as an inflammatory condition. Asthma is defined by the narrowing of airways as a result of swelling or inflammation. As the airways swell, the body produces excess mucus making it difficult to breathe thus coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath ensue.

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    Allergic vs Non-allergic Asthma

    Asthma comes in two forms. It can be either allergic or non-allergic. In allergic asthma, an inhaled irritant, such as pet dander, pollen and dust mites, causes the asthma attack. When exposed to these substances, the immune system tries to combat them; however, instead of helping, it causes inflammation. On the other hand, non-allergic asthma does not involve the immune system. Attacks are triggered by stress, anxiety, cold air, smoke or a virus. The quercetin asthma treatment is only effective for allergic asthma, which is the condition most people have.

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    Histamine and Serotonin Storehouses

    When the body comes in contact with allergens, white blood cells begin to produce allergic antibodies known as IgE. The IgE antibodies travel throughout the body until they combine with mast cells or basophils. Mast cells and basophils are types of cells which store histamine and serotonin.

    As the IgE cells come in contact with the mast cells and basophils, they begin to release histamine and serotonin. A release of histamine and serotonin into the bloodstream is what causes allergic symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes and of course wheezing, a sensation those with asthma are all too familiar with.

    This is where quercetin comes into play. Quercetin is attracted to mast cells and basophils. It tends to stabilize their cell membranes, preventing them from spilling their allergy causing histamine and serotonin into the bloodstream.

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    Leukotrienes

    Preventing the release of histamine and serotonin into the bloodstream is the first way the quercetin works. In addition to inhibiting the histamine and serotonin release, quercetin also inhibits leukotrienes.

    Leukotrienes are chemicals that cause inflammatory conditions like asthma to continue once they are triggered. Leukotrienes cause bronchial constriction and mucus production, which are the main components of an asthma attack. Quercetin prevents the formation of asthma-causing leukotrienes, even when the IgE antibody, which is formed in response to exposure to allergens, is present in the lungs to stimulate leukotriene production.

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    What is Quercetin?

    So what exactly is this magic substance? Quercetin is a type of antioxidant. It falls into the flavonoid class of antioxidants. It is found throughout the plant kingdom in blue-green algae, onions, apples and buckwheat tea.

    Its role in plants is to protect the plant from environmental stresses. Not only is quercetin effective in treating asthma, it has also been found to treat conditions associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease and various types of allergies.

    One way to increase your intake of quercetin is by eating foods rich in this substance such as apples and onions. In addition, there are several types of quercetin supplements on the market.

    Because quercetin is fairly insoluble in water, it is recommended to take it with bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapple. By taking it with bromelain, the chance for absorbency is increased.

    It is very important to talk to your doctor about whether the quercetin asthma treatment is the right step for you. If you decide to move forward with this form of treatment, be sure to discuss dosage with your doctor as well because as of yet no standard dosage has been determined for this treatment.

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    References

    University of Maryland Medical Center: Asthma- Nutrition and Dietary Supplements

    LiveStrong.com: Quercetin Asthma Treatment

    MayoClinic.com: Asthma-Treatments