There’s an amazing antioxidant found in many Foundation Foods that helps build your bones, reduce stress, and improve many other aspects of your health. What’s more, this nutritional component of fruits and vegetables is a clear example of the superiority of natural health solutions over synthetic ones.
Today I’ll explain this and much more, including how it works and how to include it in your diet.
Quercetin: A Nutritional Powerhouse That Helps Increase Bone Density
The antioxidant quercetin has an indirect but very powerful effect on your bones. It’s in a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols, which are plant chemicals responsible for the bright colors of certain foods. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program and its companion cookbook, Bone Appétit, include many of these colorful Foundation Foods, because antioxidants are so crucial to bone health.
It’s easy to overlook the role of antioxidants in managing osteoporosis; usually, the focus is more on vitamins and minerals for building bone density (these are important too, of course). But antioxidants are just as important, which is why there’s an entire chapter of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program devoted to these “undercover bone builders.”
Here’s A Brief Recap Of How Antioxidants Work
Oxygen is used by the body to create energy via cellular respiration. Despite the efficiency of this body function, however, some cells get damaged in the process and become free radicals, oxygen molecules that are missing an electron. These free radicals then “rob” an electron from other cells, creating a chain reaction and inducing cellular damage. Of course, that includes bone cells.
You can see the results of unfettered oxidation in rust on metal, and on the surface of certain foods that turn brown when exposed to the air.
Oxidative Damage “Rusts” Your Bones!
To stop the oxidative process, certain substances are able to donate an electron to stabilize free radical molecules without becoming free radicals themselves. This stops the cycle of cellular damage and allows cells to build and repair body tissue, including bone.
These stabilizing substances, of course, are antioxidants.
How The Antioxidant Quercetin Helps
Quercetin is one of many antioxidants, but it deserves special mention because its positive effects on the body go beyond the disruption of the oxidative cycle mentioned above. Quercetin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, stress-reducer, and even antihistamine. First we’ll look at stress, how it affects your bones, and how quercetin helps.
The Role Of Stress In Your Bone Health
Chronic stress is debilitating for many body systems, including your bones. The stress process, releases cortisol into the bloodstream. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism clearly shows the harm that cortisol does to your bones , especially at high levels. That’s because cortisol acidifies the body, producing the same effect as a high-acid diet.
Quercetin: Your Protection Against Stress
Among quercetin’s many profound effects on your health is its ability to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced as part of a complex series of stimuli (stressors) and reactions to those stressors.
The body’s initial response to stress begins in the hypothalamus, which is located just above the brainstem. The hypothalamus releases two hormones, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine-vassopressin (AVP). CRH and AVP in turn activate the HPA axis, an interactive feedback series involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands produce cortisol as part of this process.
Cortisol is not all bad, of course; it is a necessary component of various body reactions. It helps regulate sodium and potassium levels, for example, and certainly is vital in the “fight or flight” response. But too much cortisol can have a detrimental effect on your health.
For example, cortisol weakens the immune system by blocking T-cells and generally stifling the immune response. In addition, elevated cortisol levels can cause memory loss.
Here’s Where Quercetin Comes In
During times of prolonged stress, quercetin has been shown to suppress the release of cortisol. 1 It does this by diminishing an enzyme that is necessary for cortisol to be released into the bloodstream. By reducing cortisol levels, quercetin promotes a more alkaline environment in the body – and that is absolutely crucial for your bones to flourish.
Health Benefits Of Quercetin Beyond Your Bones
In addition to the stress-reducing effects of quercetin, research has also shown that this antioxidant aids other body systems too. For example…
- Quercetin balances blood pressure according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Participants in the study experienced balanced arterial pressure after taking quercetin supplements. 2
- Cardiovascular health is improved with quercetin – research has shown its antioxidant action prevents cholesterol oxidation on artery walls 3, and quercetin also promotes blood flow in general. 4
- Respiratory health can also benefit from quercetin. Irritation of the respiratory tract, such as swelling and redness, results from your body’s histamine release. Preliminary findings suggest that quercetin inhibits the release of histamines. 5
Clearly, quercetin performs multiple health-related tasks in the body, which makes it an ideal natural solution to overall health and specific health issues.
Compare this approach to individual medicines that target one symptom and health problem at a time, such as over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines. Inevitably, such medications have side effects. Take, for example, the OTC antihistamine Claritin (loratadine) – side effects include:
- Head pain
- Pink eye
- Very large hives
- Abnormal dreams (one wonders what constitutes an “abnormal dream” – it’s frightening to think that a drug can affect your brain this way!)
- Vision problems
- Inability to focus
- Bladder control problems
- Rapid heartbeat
This is just one example of many. And let’s not forget the nefarious side effects (and dismal bone density increase) of bisphosphonates, the most popular osteoporosis drugs, such as Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast along with their generic versions.
Instead of using a synthetic chemical in isolation, you should consume whole foods to obtain an array of synergistic compounds that build your overall health.
Quercetin Can Be Found In A Variety Of Delicious Foods.
Here are the richest sources of this antioxidant, and all the synergistic substances that are also in these foods work together to promote optimal health.
- Ancho chili peppers (fresh)
- Apples (with skin)
- Broccoli (raw has more quercetin than cooked)
- Buckwheat (one of the rare alkalizing grains)
- Olive oil
- Red grapes
With the exception of chocolate, all of these foods are Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. And as you can see, there’s quite a variety!
This is why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program delves into the nutritional, bone-building effects of foods as part of its all-natural, drug-free approach. Wouldn’t you rather create delicious meals from these natural foods than take a dangerous synthetic drug with frightening side effects? I know I would.
Till next time,
1 Cheng LC, Li LA. Flavonoids exhibit diverse effects on CYP11B1 expression and cortisol synthesis. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012 Feb 1;258(3):343-50. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2011.11.017. Epub 2011 Dec 8.
2 Edwards RL, Lyon T, Litwin SE, Rabovsky A, Symons JD, Jalili T. Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. J Nutr. 2007 Nov;137(11):2405-11.
3 Egert S, Bosy-Westphal A, Seiberl J, Kürbitz C, Settler U, Plachta-Danielzik S, Wagner AE, Frank J, Schrezenmeir J, Rimbach G, Wolffram S, Müller MJ. Quercetin reduces systolic blood pressure and plasma oxidised low-density lipoprotein concentrations in overweight subjects with a high-cardiovascular disease risk phenotype: a double-blinded, placebocontrolled cross-over study. Br J Nutr. 2009 Oct;102(7):1065-74. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509359127. Epub 2009 Apr 30.
4 Perez-Vizcaino F, Duarte J. Flavonols and cardiovascular disease. Mol Aspects Med. 2010 Dec;31(6):478-94. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 15.
5 Chirumbolo S. The role of quercetin, flavonols and flavones in modulating inflammatory cell function. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2010 Sep;9(4):263-85.
Comments on this article are closed.
I have been recently diagnosed with weaken bones and multiply herniated disc.and I would love to get as many info as possible about this
I take quercetin supplements but am not sure how much to take. I’ve read that too much can cause kidney problems…
Vivian, How do you know if you are taking the right vitamins, and if you are taking too many or too little. My husband and I take vitamins each day, and I was told when I was in hospital when I fell and fractured my hip and had a new pin and ball replaced, by the Arthritic specialist that I should take up to 4000 units of vitamin d each day, and my husband & I have been doing that in the winter, and reducing it to 2000 units in the summer, but I have been reading lately that this is just a waste, that we only need 800 units a day. What do you think about that. I have your program and your cook book, and we love them. Also should we remove wheat from our diet, I have the Wheat Belly book, and I can see what they mean about wheat, it has definately changed a lot since we were kids, and I think myself it is a good idea, but I don’t want to jepordise
my health, in regards to saving my bones. Would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
I am presently taking garden of life calcium that consists mcha to increase bone density! Is it good?
Thank you for the bone appetite cook book!
Dear Vivian, I am a 66year old woman who is on fracture line, & I have told my doctor that I will not take drugs or calcium supplements. However, I gym everyday & eat healthily (although I ate dairy), & managed to stay at the same bone density for ten years! So my Prof., never insisted on taking anything. I have now been given your website by a friend & I am delighted! At last, I have found someone like me who doesn’t believe in drugs! Vivian good luck to you – you are doing a great job. I have now given up all dairy, but what about buffalo/goats cheese & milk? Please answer me at my email address. P.S. I live in South Africa, & I see you do not deliver your vitamins to our country. I would be willing to stock your vitamins for South Africa if you would like. Thanks so much for being there. Best Joy (Markman)
Please put me on your mailing list, so I can keep up to date with what’s happening in your site.
hi vivian, thank you for your great health informations; they are very interesting and helpful. I read them because i have the beginning of osteosporosis, and sometimes i feel very depressed. Have a great day, and hi to every one!
My friend had your book which I was looking at. She told me that you have sales and sell books for half price that might be a little wrinkled. That is how she bought hers and that is how I’d like to buy mine, since I can’t afford the full price. Please let me know when the next time will be that you will do that again.
Thank you very much,
I’m doing what I can to remember all the details of all the right foods and am plant based. I follow, mostly Dr. McDougall’s diet, so try to bring the two together. Early in Dec. last year, I broke both sides of my left ankle and discovered even worse Osteoporosis than I expected. I’m sure my diet is healthier than most, but my problem is being able to remember all these details when I shop and cook. Acid/alkaline, and how much of each…It’s hard to remember. What’s the secret?
Supplement memory with Index Cards; Write SOBones foods on card with A for Acid;or B for base(alkaline) beside names ofFruit,
Veggie, Nuts, Grains,etc– carry to store when shop each time.
With review & repitition you will begin to remember these associations; if not, you will always have the cards to help you shop. Enjoy!!
Many Thanks, good information
I was told that regular yogurt has 3x the calcium of greek yogurt. Is that correct?
Regular yogurt has three times as much calcium than Greek yogurt and is therefore great for people who need more calcium in their diet. Greek yogurt has a lower potassium content than regular yogurt. Every 6 oz serving of Greek yogurt contains around 120 mg of potassium whereas regular yogurt contains around 398 mg of potassium.
Read more at Buzzle: https://www.buzzle.com/articles/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt.html
How much quercetin does one need to take a day to obtain the benefits?
Such as one or two apples a day or what amount of foods do you need to eat daily to get the benefit of quercetin?
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid common in the plant kingdom, especially high in onions, red wine, and green tea.
It’s the green tea with a squeeze of citrus that’s the easiest for me to take every day.
There is some sort of synergy going on between green tea and vitamin C, that’s why the squeeze of citrus in the hot tea. Ideally, we should be drinking 5 cups a day. Too many for me. I’m at 3.
I’ve just started drinking green tea after years of not because of the caffeine . I drink one tea bag in 2 cups of water, hope to move up to one cup water to one teabag.
Is loose tea that you brew any better than tea bags for these nutrients?
I get the loose tea for brewing. It is tastier and fresher. As to the nourishment of one product or the other, I wouldn’t know. But we do lose 80% of the nourishment if we don’t add lemon juice. 80% is a lot to lose.
I found this:
Cup for cup, kale is the king of calcium (it contains three times more than spinach). However, food scientists say you’ll soak up even more of this bone-building mineral by combining kale with some radicchio. Why? The crimson veggie is a rich source of inulin, a carbohydrate that naturally enhances calcium absorption in the intestines, according to a recent study in the journal of (lost in the paste).
I forgot to add that the loose tea I buy, the leaves are actually green in color. I’ve opened the bag tea we get off the shelf and the leaves are brown and old looking.
As I’ve Said Before; I Eat A Lot Of The Foods That Are Good For Your Bones.
I Also Take Evening Primrose In A Soft Gel Form. I Hope That’s A Good Way To Take It.
Again Thank You For All You Do. Take Care, And Stay Well.
Dear Vivian: My beloved husband has Paget”s Disease and has severe pain in the ilium area. He has tried several different alternative method’s such as decompression therapy and chiropractic adjustments. This has helped very little and is costly to continue. Is going to try steroid injections next. Can you advise us on any treatment for the relief of pain. Also any info on Paget’s disease. Thank you.
Very interesting about quercetin and the foods that are high in it. I have a question. I received the “Stop the Bone Thieves” report, and I get the newsletter, but what about the email course? I want to get your program as soon as I gather some money to do so.
My question is what, if any, muli-vitamin is recommended. I purchased the SaveOurBones program last year, and am taking an AlgaeCal based calcium supplement, with D3, K2, etc. But Vivian recommends many other Vitamins and minerals to take. I do not want to take 20 pills a day, so was wondering what a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is that I can take along with my calcium supplement. Thanks.
I am no fan of a multivitamin. There is always too much vitamin A, the synthetic kind, in them. Vitamin A, the synthetic type, keeps us from absorbing D.
I’ll bet more hip fractures comes from too much synthetic A then we know. We get so much A from our vegetables, natural A, and our body knows how to deal with it properly. I’ve read about this 10 years ago and yet this info never sees the light of day.
Dear Vivian, you are so wonderful sharing with all of us all your knowledge. There are not enough words to thank you. Every day when I look into your e-mail I feel you are like my doctor telling me what to do with my osteoporosis and I am sure that in a year since I started following your guidance I will be WELL! Thanks always thanks!!!
Today, February 20, 2014, I read your latest suggestion for good bone health. You suggested that we use the antioxidant called, Quercetin. Is it a new finding? WHY haven’t you told us about this sooner as it sounds like it would be very beneficial.
Vivian, I thought that blueberries and cranberries were acidifying. Confused.
Hi Vivian and everyone ~
I know Quercetin very well from having studied it as part of my herbs and herbal remedies that I make from wild herbs. One free and significant source of Quercetin is found in the leaves of the quite deceivingly ordinary plant, Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis.
The whole plant was once used by indigenous peoples in North America, and as many know, the seeds of this plant are the base for Evening Primrose Oil, with potent GLA that helps an array of conditions, among them PMS and ADD.
If you collect the leaves for consumption, you must make sure that the plant does not grow within short distance of any parking lot, public or private roads, etc. because you risk ingesting the pollution from vehicle exhaust fumes.
Luckily, this plant grows in many habitats, so you are bound to find it somewhere where it is safe to collect it.
Evening Primrose is a biennial plant, so the first year you will find only the flat rosette of leaves growing in a circle close to the ground. The second-year plants have the distinctive stalks and the typical yellow flowers that only open on cloudy days or after sunset, giving it its common name.
I can post a photo on my blog, if you want to see what it looks like.
This plant is literally my champion of all herbs! Now I’m so glad to find out that Quercetin, which it contains in very high amounts in its leaves, is also a bone-building powerhouse. That’s great news!
Thanks again for this great research information. I do already include many of these but didn’t know this aspect of the benefits they include. I certainly will add more of these, didn’t know about buckwheat for instance. Have a great day everyone!
Question on dairy.
Kefir grains prefer wholemilk.
I’m not a big fan of milk. There are many reports of how it assists the growth of breast cancer cells, perhaps because of acidifying effect?… however there are many benefits of consuming kefir daily for the probiotic benefits.
What is your opinion on kefir relative to bone health?