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Quercetin for Eczema: How It Fights Inflammation

September 28, 2023

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Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin patches, which can be both physically and emotionally distressing. While there is no cure for eczema, various treatment options are available to manage its symptoms effectively. In recent years, the role of natural compounds in eczema management has gained attention, and one such compound is quercetin.

In this blog post, we will explore the potential benefits of quercetin in fighting inflammation associated with eczema.

Understanding Eczema and Inflammation

Before delving into the benefits of quercetin, it’s essential to understand the connection between eczema and inflammation. In individuals with eczema, the skin’s barrier function is compromised, allowing irritants and allergens to penetrate more easily. This triggers an immune response, leading to inflammation. Inflammatory cells release various substances, including histamines and cytokines, which cause itching, redness, and swelling.

Quercetin: A Powerful Anti-inflammatory Compound

Quercetin is a flavonoid, a class of plant-derived compounds known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is widely present in various fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including apples, berries, onions, and leafy greens. Aside from skin cells activation for slowing down aging, it demonstrates the ability to combat inflammation through several mechanisms.

  • Inhibition of Histamine Release

Histamine is a key mediator of allergic reactions and plays a significant role in eczema-related inflammation. Quercetin has been found to inhibit histamine release from immune cells, reducing allergic responses. By blocking histamine release, quercetin can help alleviate itching and minimize the inflammatory cascade.

  • Modulation of Cytokines

Cytokines are small proteins that act as messengers between cells, regulating immune system responses. In eczema, an imbalance of certain cytokines contributes to chronic inflammation. Quercetin has been shown to modulate epithelial cell-derived cytokine production, reducing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13), while promoting anti-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-10 (IL-10). This balanced cytokine profile can help restore immune homeostasis and alleviate eczema symptoms.

  • Antioxidant Effects

Oxidative stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of eczema by damaging skin cells and exacerbating inflammation. Quercetin acts as a potent antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. By protecting skin cells from oxidative damage, quercetin may help prevent flare-ups and maintain the skin’s barrier function.

  • Stabilization of Mast Cells

Mast cells are immune cells involved in allergic reactions. When triggered, mast cells release histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances, contributing to chronic skin symptoms. Quercetin has been found to stabilize mast cells, preventing excessive release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. This stabilizing effect of quercetin can provide relief from itching and inflammation associated with eczema.

  • Inhibition of Enzymes

Quercetin can inhibit the activity of enzymes involved in the production of inflammatory molecules. For example, it can inhibit the activity of phospholipase A2 and lipoxygenase, enzymes involved in the production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins. By inhibiting these enzymes, quercetin can help reduce inflammation and manage eczema symptoms.

While quercetin shows promise in helping the anti-allergic immune response of the body when dealing with eczema symptoms, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and establish optimal dosages. Additionally, individual responses to quercetin may vary, and it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating quercetin into your eczema management plan. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that quercetin is safe and suitable for your specific condition.

Ripe fruits in a wicker basket

Best Sources of Quercetin

Quercetin is naturally found in various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plant-based foods. Here are some excellent dietary sources of quercetin:

1. Apples: Apples, especially the skin, are a rich source of quercetin. Choose organic varieties and consume them with the skin intact for maximum benefit.

2. Berries: Berries like blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but also packed with quercetin. Add them to your breakfast cereals, or smoothies, or enjoy them as a healthy snack.

3. Onions: Red onions, in particular, are known to contain high levels of quercetin. Use them raw in salads, sandwiches, or cook them into soups, stews, and stir-fries.

4. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons contain quercetin in their peel. Consider using the zest or adding slices of citrus fruits to your water or recipes.

5. Leafy greens: Vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are not only rich in essential nutrients but also provide quercetin. Incorporate them into your salads, stir-fries, or smoothies.

6. Red grapes: Red grapes, including their skin, are a good source of quercetin. Enjoy them as a snack or add them to fruit salads and desserts.

7. Green tea: Green tea contains quercetin along with other beneficial compounds. Enjoy a cup of green tea daily to boost your quercetin intake.

8. Tomatoes: Tomatoes, especially when cooked, are a good source of quercetin. Use them in sauces, soups, or enjoy them in salads.

9. Herbs: Certain herbs and spices are also rich in quercetin. Examples include parsley, capers, dill, lovage, and cilantro. Use these herbs to enhance the flavor of your dishes.

The quercetin content in foods can vary depending on factors such as ripeness, storage, and preparation methods. Aim to consume a diverse range of plant-based foods to ensure an adequate intake of quercetin and other beneficial compounds.

If you find it challenging to incorporate enough quercetin-rich foods into your diet, quercetin supplements are available. However, it is always recommended to obtain nutrients from whole foods whenever possible, as they provide a balanced array of beneficial compounds. If considering supplements, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure they do not interact with any existing medications or health conditions.

White cream on smooth skin

How To Use Or Incorporate Quercetin For Eczema Relief

Quercetin can be incorporated into your eczema relief routine in various ways. Here are some methods to consider:

  • Dietary Sources

The first and most natural way to incorporate quercetin is through your diet. Include quercetin-rich foods in your meals and snacks. Aim to consume a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs mentioned earlier in the blog post, such as apples, berries, onions, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and herbs like parsley and cilantro. Try to incorporate these foods into your daily meals to ensure a consistent intake of quercetin.

  • Quercetin Supplements

If you find it challenging to consume enough quercetin through dietary sources alone, you may consider taking quercetin supplements. These supplements are available in capsule or tablet form and can be found at health food stores or online. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure they are suitable for you.

  • Topical Application

While most research on quercetin focuses on its oral consumption, some studies have explored its potential benefits when applied topically. You can try using topical creams or ointments containing quercetin. However, it is worth noting that the availability of topical quercetin products may be limited, and their efficacy may vary. Consult with a dermatologist for recommendations on suitable topical formulations.

  • Combination Therapy

Quercetin can be used in combination with other eczema treatments for enhanced benefits. It may complement prescription medications, topical corticosteroids, or other topical creams prescribed by your dermatologist. Discuss with your healthcare provider or dermatologist about incorporating quercetin alongside your existing treatment plan to ensure compatibility and safety.

  • Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to incorporating quercetin, it’s crucial to focus on overall lifestyle modifications for eczema management. Practice good skincare habits, such as using gentle cleansers, moisturizing regularly, and avoiding known triggers. Follow a healthy diet, manage stress levels, get enough sleep, and maintain good overall health to support your body’s healing processes.

While quercetin may offer potential benefits for eczema relief, results can vary among individuals. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist or allergist, before making any significant changes to your eczema management plan. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific condition, medical history, and individual needs.

Are There Any Dangers To Watch Out For?

Quercetin is generally considered safe for most individuals when consumed in dietary amounts. Still, it is essential to be aware of potential risks and precautions:

  • Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may be allergic to quercetin or have food allergies to those that contain high levels of quercetin. If you have known allergies to foods like apples, berries, onions, or citrus fruits, exercise caution when incorporating quercetin-rich foods or supplements into your diet. Monitor for any signs of allergic inflammation, such as hives, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Discontinue use and seek medical attention if any allergic symptoms occur.

  • Drug Interactions

Quercetin may interact with certain medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. If you are taking any prescription medications, especially blood thinners, antibiotics, or medications metabolized by the liver, consult with your healthcare professional before starting quercetin supplements to avoid any potential interactions.

  • Digestive Upset

In some cases, high doses of quercetin supplements may cause digestive side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea. If you experience any gastrointestinal symptoms after taking quercetin supplements, consider reducing the dosage or discontinuing use. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines provided by the manufacturer or as advised by your healthcare professional.

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There is limited research on the safety of quercetin supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is best to err on the side of caution and avoid quercetin supplements during these periods unless specifically recommended by your healthcare provider.

  • Quercetin Quality and Purity

When considering quercetin supplements, ensure that you choose reputable brands known for their quality and purity. Look for products that have undergone third-party testing to ensure that they meet safety standards and contain the stated amounts of quercetin. Consult with your healthcare professional or pharmacist for guidance on selecting reliable supplement brands.

As with any dietary supplement or new treatment, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating quercetin into your eczema management plan. They can evaluate your specific health situation, medications, and potential allergies to provide personalized advice and ensure that quercetin is safe and suitable for you. If you experience any adverse reactions or unexpected symptoms while using quercetin, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional promptly.

Close up of man hands taking medical supplements

Should Quercetin Be Ingested Or Applied Topically?

Quercetin can be beneficial when consumed orally or applied topically, but the choice of administration depends on the specific goals and preferences of the individual. Here’s an overview of both methods:

  • Oral Consumption

Consuming quercetin-rich foods or taking quercetin supplements orally is the most common way to incorporate quercetin into your routine. When ingested, quercetin is absorbed into the bloodstream and can exert systemic effects throughout the body, including its anti-inflammatory properties. Oral consumption allows quercetin to reach various tissues and organs, potentially benefiting overall health, including the skin.

  • Topical Application

While most research on quercetin focuses on its oral consumption, some studies suggest that topical application of quercetin may also provide benefits. When applied topically, quercetin can directly interact with the skin cells and tissues, potentially reducing inflammation, alleviating itching, and supporting the skin’s barrier function. However, it’s important to note that the availability of topical quercetin products may be limited, and their efficacy may vary.

The choice between oral consumption and topical application depends on several factors, including the severity of eczema symptoms, personal preference, and availability of suitable products. If you opt for oral consumption, incorporating quercetin-rich foods into your diet or considering quercetin supplements may be appropriate. On the other hand, if you prefer topical application, consult with a dermatologist for recommendations on suitable quercetin-based creams or ointments.

Combining both methods may provide a more comprehensive approach. By consuming quercetin orally, you can potentially benefit from its systemic anti-inflammatory effects, while the topical application can provide localized relief to affected areas of the skin.

Before starting any new treatment, including quercetin supplementation or topical application, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist or allergist. They can assess your specific condition, provide personalized advice, and guide you in determining the most suitable approach for managing your eczema symptoms.

Why Are There Only Limited Ointments Or Creams That Contain Quercetin?

The availability of ointments or creams containing quercetin for eczema treatment is indeed limited, and there are several reasons for this:

  • Research and Development

The formulation of effective topical products involves extensive research and development. While studies have shown promising results of quercetin in managing eczema-like symptoms in animal models, the translation of these findings into commercially available topical products requires further research, clinical trials, and regulatory approvals. The process of developing and testing topical formulations can be time-consuming and costly, which may explain the limited availability of quercetin-based creams or ointments.

  • Stability and Bioavailability

Quercetin is a compound that can be unstable and easily degraded, especially when exposed to light, heat, or air. Maintaining its stability and ensuring its bioavailability (the amount that can be effectively absorbed and utilized by the skin) in a topical formulation can be challenging. Formulating a stable and bioavailable quercetin-based cream or ointment that can deliver the compound to the affected areas of the skin in sufficient amounts is a complex task.

  • Commercial Viability

The decision to develop and market a topical product is often based on commercial viability. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers may prioritize conditions with larger patient populations or where there is a greater demand for topical treatments. Eczema, while a common condition, may not receive the same level of commercial attention as other dermatological conditions. This factor can contribute to the limited availability of quercetin-based topical products for eczema.

  • Regulation and Safety Considerations

Bringing a topical product to the market involves complying with regulatory requirements, ensuring safety and efficacy, and obtaining necessary approvals. Quercetin, as a natural compound, may face specific regulatory challenges and require further validation of its safety and efficacy in topical applications. The regulatory process can be lengthy and demanding, which may discourage some manufacturers from pursuing the development of quercetin-based topical products.

Given these factors, the research and development of quercetin-based topical formulations for eczema treatment are ongoing. As scientific understanding and interest in natural compounds like quercetin continue to grow, it is possible that more options for quercetin-based creams or ointments may become available in the future. In the meantime, individuals interested in exploring quercetin for eczema management can focus on dietary sources or consult with healthcare professionals for guidance on appropriate supplementation or topical options.

Woman eating apple with quercetin for eczema

Medovie – The Natural Supplement to Quercetin for Eczema Management

Quercetin, a natural compound with anti-inflammatory properties, holds promise in the management of eczema. Its ability to inhibit histamine release, modulate cytokines, act as an antioxidant, and stabilize mast cells makes it a potentially valuable addition to eczema treatment. However, further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and establish optimal dosages.

Remember, managing eczema requires a comprehensive approach. While incorporating quercetin into your regimen may offer benefits, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance. By combining appropriate medical treatment, skincare practices, and lifestyle modifications, you can work towards effectively managing eczema and improving your quality of life.

And as a supplement, we recommend using Medovie products.

Medovie is a trusted provider of safe and effective skincare products. We combine the wisdom of traditional Chinese Medicine with cutting-edge research to deliver long-lasting relief for restless skin. Our mission is to offer holistic comfort through our products and ongoing consultation, ensuring your skin stays healthy for the long term.

At the heart of everything we do is our ground-breaking 3HX™ formula. This revolutionary formula has been meticulously perfected over a decade to support healthy cell production and deliver astonishing benefits to your skin. Through a complex process, we extract the active ingredients from herbs, creating products that are both safe and highly effective.

Choose Medovie products for a skincare routine that goes beyond the surface and provides lasting results. Experience the power of our 3HX™ formula and say goodbye to restless skin problems.

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