(Natural News) At this point, there is no longer any doubt that the pesticides used on a massive scale in conventional farming are harmful to humans, animals and the environment. Exposure to pesticides has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, cancer, reproductive issues, diabetes, autism, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Millions of birds and fish die each year because of pesticide exposure, while bee, amphibian and bat populations have been decimated by these chemicals in recent years.
While we can try to minimize our exposure to pesticides by growing our own fruits and veggies or choosing organic produce whenever possible, the fact is that our planet’s soil and water have been soaked in organophosphates and other pesticides, and avoiding them entirely is virtually impossible.
It is therefore reassuring to know that studies have found that a natural plant pigment (flavonoid) called quercetin can help to neutralize the damage caused by these toxic chemicals.
What is quercetin?
Quercetin occurs naturally in foods like onions, berries and apples, as well as in certain herbs, red wine and tea. It has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, and most importantly, scavenges free radicals, which are the by-products of chemicals and which damage DNA and cell membranes.
In nature, quercetin protects plants against environmental threats like toxins and infection. It is a powerful antioxidant in its own right and boosts the function of other antioxidants in the body, including the most important one: glutathione.
Studies prove quercetin counteracts the effects of pesticides
Early research confirmed that quercetin ameliorates the effects of exposure to individual pesticides in animal studies. A study published in the journal Xenobiotica in 2015 set out to build on these findings by examining the effects of quercetin on rats exposed to four different organophosphates simultaneously.
The researchers divided rats into six different groups: a control group; two groups receiving different doses of quercetin; a group of rats exposed to pesticide mixtures (PM); and two groups exposed to pesticides while being given quercetin supplements.
The following parameters were significantly changed in PM-treated groups compared with the control (p?<?0.01). In kidney, malondialdehyde level raised; catalase, superoxide dismutase activities and glutathione levels were decreased. Comet assay of nephrocytes showed that the proportion of DNA in the tail and tail length increased. In urine, ?2-microglobulin, retinol-conjugated protein levels and N-acetyl-?-d-glucosaminidase activity showed increasing response; meanwhile uric acid level was decreased. In serum, creatinine and urea nitrogen levels were increased. However, the anomaly changes of indexes mentioned above in PM-treated group were alleviated when simultaneously administrated with 50?mg/kg body weight/day quercetin (p?<?0.05).
The research team concluded that quercetin may protect against the effects of exposure to multiple organophosphate pesticides – exposure to which is high in humans.
Other good reasons to boost quercetin intake
In addition to its protective capabilities against pesticide exposure, there are also other good reasons to increase our consumption of foods high in quercetin or to take it in supplement form.
Quercetin has been linked to supporting the immune system, clearing excess congestion, supporting bone health, and may aid in fighting mild allergy problems. It is also used in some weight control programs. Quercetin, like other flavonoids, is an antioxidant that travels throughout the body removing harmful free radicals. Studies have also shown that quercetin may also be a potential solution to cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.
And studies have found that quercetin can halt the spread of cancer by interfering with the processes that transform healthy cells into malignant cancer cells. It is believed to “freeze” rapidly replicating cancer cells, trapping them in an early phase of cell reproduction.
There are certainly plenty of good reasons for all of us to supplement our diets with this amazing gift from nature.
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