Quercitin Bioflavonoid May Offer Protection From Hepatitis C and Liver Cancer

Quercitin is a bioflavonoid plant chemical found in many fruits and vegetables. Studies show that quercitin  may  protect your liver from permanent damage related to Hepatitis C. Researchers at  UCLA  have shown that Quercetin may  actually block the spread of the deadly Hepatitis C virus and may even  be a safe natural approach to treatment. Hepatitis C is a difficult to treat chronic viral infection of the liver that can both destroy the liver and its vital functions and can also lead to life threatening liver cancer.  Below you will find a list of common foods rich in these protective phytochemicals. In a study from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (1) and published in the journal Hepatology, researchers concluded that Quercitin may stop the Hepatitis C virus from replicating and spreading and therefore  Quercitin , a safe, natural agent with very low toxicity, has the potential to be used to reduce Hepatitis C virus production. A second team of researchers discovered that querictin is not the only bioflavonoid which effects viral production. In a similar study, (2) researchers from the Molecular Biology Institute at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA discovered that the bioflavonoids catechin and naringin had similar but milder effects on the Hepatits C virus and that each bioflavonoid acted through uniquely different mechanisms.  By acting on viruses through different pathways all at once, there is greater stress to the Hepatitis C virus and a better chance that the spread of the virus might be stopped in its tracks. The researchers also emphasized the very “low toxicity” of all of these bioflavonoids. As a chronic Hepatitis C infection of the liver advances, large areas of the liver become scarred and lose their vital functions. This is called Cirrhosis of the Liver. Liver cancer can be the result of a chronic Hepatitis C liver infection. Both conditions impair quality of life and can lead to death. Hepatitis C is a serious and life threatening illness. There are a handful of treatments such as interferon and new anti-viral drugs, but all are expensive and have significant side effects and may not be readily available to a wide number of patients. Because liver cancer can develop from Hepatitis C infection, it is noteworthy that these bioflavonoids also have an impact on genes related to cancer.  Plant chemicals, including quercitin, catechins, naringin can actually turn genes on and off. Just a few of many many genes related to cancer physiology that are effected by bioflavonoids include BAX, STAT3, Bcl2, CASP3, AKT1, MAPK3, VEGF for example!! (3) These genes effect the growth, development and spread of many cancers. All bioflavonoids  also exhibit cell protective anti-oxidant properties. As you can see, molecules from nature are multi-taskers! Bottom Line: Bioflavonoids such as quercitin, catechins and naringin  found in many common foods are a truly elegant and safe solution from nature for altering virus replication, cancer gene expression and cell damage due to oxidative stress from free radicals associated with infections and inflammation. Below you will find lists of common foods rich in these potent plant chemicals.   Quercitin, Naringin and Catechin are also available in tablets and capsules as supplements. Combination products may be labelled “mixed bioflavonoids”. Foods High in Quercitin: citrus fruits, red apples, red onions, parsley, sage, tea, red wine, olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, dark berries including blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries, gingko leaf, grape seed  (3) (4) Foods High in Catechins: Green tea, cocoa, dark chocolate, raw apples, apricots, nectarines, pears and plums with skin, blackberries, red raspberries, cranberries, cherries , barley, raisins, red wine and rhubarb  (all fruit is with the skin where the bioflavonoids are concentrated) (5) Foods High In Naringin: The primary dietary sources of naringin are grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Because grapefruits have a big impact on how drugs and medications are metabolized, always consult your health care provider before adding grapefruit to your diet.(6) You may also like: Grated Carrot Apple Salad with Cranberries, Southwestern Quinoa, Black Bean and Avocado Salad, Spiced Dairy Free Gluten Free Chocolate Truffles