Quercetin may halt bone destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
11/14/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may find relief from their symptoms from a polyphenol called quercetin, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The study found that quercetin may help stop bone destruction in people with this condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease primarily affecting the joints. It occurs when the immune system targets the joint linings, causing inflammation. This results in damaged cartilage and bones by the activation of osteoclasts, a key component in bone metabolism.

In this study, a team of researchers from Konkuk University School of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, and Woosuk University in South Korea looked at the immune-regulatory function of quercetin in interleukin (IL)-17-produced osteoclastogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis in cells. IL-17 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that contributes to the development of many autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

The research team found that quercetin treatment reduced the activity of IL-17, as well as osteoclastogenesis and osteoclast differentiation. The researchers concluded that quercetin could be used as an additional treatment option for preventing the destruction of bones caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Quercetin may benefit women with rheumatoid arthritis

A study published in the Journal of the American College Nutrition reported that supplementing with quercetin is beneficial to women with rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Iran University of Medical Sciences in Iran looked at the effects of quercetin supplementation on inflammation, severity, and clinical symptoms in women with rheumatoid arthritis.


For this study, the team recruited 50 women with rheumatoid arthritis. Then, they randomly assigned the participants to take either 500 milligrams (mg) of quercetin or a placebo every day for eight weeks. They also collected blood samples from the women before and after the treatment period to analyze erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma high-sensitivity tumor necrosis factor-alpha (hs-TNFa), a marker of inflammation.

The team combined the results of physician-administered assessments that determined the number of swollen and tender joints with ESR results to measure the disease's activity. The participants also completed questionnaires that assessed their quality of life and disability.

After eight weeks of treatment, the research team found that women who took quercetin had less early morning stiffness, morning pain, and pain after activity compared to pretreatment period. On the contrary, those who received a placebo did not experience any improvements in their symptoms.

In addition, those who received quercetin experienced significant improvements in disease activity scores, number of tender joints, quality of life and disability, and physician global assessments. Their ESR was also slightly lower and their hs-TNFa was significantly lower compared with the placebo group.

"In our study, quercetin decreased inflammatory cytokine hs-TNFa possibly through suppression of gene expression of cytokines based on previous studies, but it seems that some of other inflammatory factors like ESR need a longer duration of supplementation to produce a significant change," Fatemeh Javadi, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement.

The research team concluded that taking 500 mg of quercetin every day may improve the clinical symptoms, disease activity, inflammation, and quality of life of women with rheumatoid arthritis.

Where can you get quercetin?

Found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains, quercetin is a natural pigment that belongs to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids. Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid found in foods. You can get it from apples, berries, broccoli, buckwheat, capers, cherries, citrus fruits, grapes, kale, onions, red wine, tea, and tomatoes. You can also consume it as a dietary supplement in powder and capsule form.

The beneficial effects of quercetin, like other flavonoids, come from its ability to work as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants are compounds that can bind to and fight free radicals that cause damage to cells, which can lead to numerous chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

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