A bioflavonoid is a pigment within plants and fruits that acts as an antioxidant to protect against damage from free radicals and excess oxygen. In the body, bioflavonoids enhance the benefits of vitamin C and are often formulated with this vitamin in supplement form. Orginally called vitamin P (until 1950), these vitamin C “helper” substances include citrin, hesperidin, rutin, quercetin, epicatechin, flavones, and flavonols. When taken with vitamin C, bioflavonoids increase the absorption of vitamin C into the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Acting as antioxidants, they also protect vitamin C from destruction by free radicals. Bioflavonoids also have a unique ability to bind and strengthen collagen structures, which are vital for the integrity of connective tissue in cases of allergy-induced arthritis.
There are more than 4,000 classified bioflavonoid compounds occurring in different types of food. The bioflavonoid called anthocyanidin give the deep red or blue color to blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, and hawthorn berries, increases the release of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins in the gastrointestinal system; this could prove useful in fighting leaky gut syndrome and gastrointestinal reactions.
Food sources: fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, oranges, apples, apricots, pears, peaches, tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, black currants, red grapes, plums, raspberries, strawberries, hawthorn berries, and other berries; vegetables such as red cabbage, onions, parsley, rhubarb; herbs such as milk thistle and sage; grape skins, pine bark, red wine, and green tea. Supplementing with all types of bioflavonoids is recommended for allergy and sensitivity sufferers; however, quercetin has shown particular promise in reducing symptoms.
A bright yellow pigment, quercetin has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties useful in treating allergic inflammation. A natural bioflavonoid and antioxidant, quercetin stabilizes mast cells and basophils, thus suppressing the release of histamine, leukotrienes, and other substances that cause inflammation in an allergic response. Quercetin is useful in helping correct intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and associated food allergies. It has also been found effective in treating nasal/eye symptoms of allergic rhinitis, as it corrects metabolic impairments in essential fatty acid, and other fats needed by lymphocytes. Quercentin also supports the function of vitamin C.
Food sources: onions and green tea. Supplements: quercetin works best when combined with the enzyme bromelain. Therapeutic dose: 200-1,000 mg daily.