Two buzz words in nutrition and supplement research – quercetin and resveratrol. What is the lowdown? Should you take a supplement or just eat the food?
The simple answer is unclear. Quercetin is a type of antioxidant known as a polyphenol. Two categories of polyphenols are flavonoids and non-flavonoids. A flavonoid is a pigment in food that has important health benefits. Besides antioxidant activity, flavonoids are known for their prevention of heart disease and cancer, since they can lower cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body.
Quercetin is found in the greatest concentration in apple skins, but can also be found in red grapes, green tea and buckwheat. Several positive studies were done with animals, including one in which quercetin supplemented mice were less likely to get the flu. Human studies to date have been inconclusive on supplement usage.
Resveratrol is a non-flavonoid polyphenol that is found in grapes and grape skins. It has strong anti-inflammatory effects in the body which can be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Wine drinkers tout they are getting their resveratrol for the day. However, you would have to consume 180 glasses of wine per day to obtain the amount necessary for health. Studies are also inconclusive on supplement usage. More importantly, many supplements tested do not contain the amount of resveratrol that is stated on the bottle.
Bottom line? Until more research is in, eat apples and grapes, and drink green tea. You will be receiving the quercetin and resveratrol your body can readily use and absorb and there is nothing to lose except bad health…and maybe the flu.