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Created: January 2001
Revised: February 2004

You are here: IC Network > Patient Handbook > Quercetin

Quercetin Derivatives

A hot term in 2001-2 was bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are found in plants, especially onions, spices, green tea, and red wine. They have anti-oxidant properties, both as free radical scavengers and as inhibitors of xanthine oxidase. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, blocking both chemokines and cytokines and they interfere with tyrosine kinase enzyme activation, inhibiting the division and growth of T cells. Interestingly for IC, some bioflavonoids have been shown to block mast cell activity. Finally, they have antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.

Quercetin was first used effectively with prostatitis patients. In a recent study of men with nonbacterial prostatitis, 67% of patients taking a purified quercetin 500 mg capsule twice a day had a significant improvement in symptoms (at least 25% improvement in symptom score) versus 20% of the men taking placebo. Using a quercetin formulation that includes bromelain and papain to enhance quercetin absorption (Prosta-Q) 82% of the men had a significant improvement in symptoms [Quercetin in Men with Category III Chronic Prostatitis: A Preliminary Prospective, Double Blinded, Placebo Controlled Trial Shoskes DA, Zeitlin I, Shahed A, Rajfer J. Urology, 54(6):960-963, 1999].

Because prostatitis and interstitial cystitis are quite similar, researchers wondered if it could also help interstitial cystitis. Dan Shoskes, MD, currently at the Cleveland Clinic of Florida, has conducted several studies that demonstrate that quercetin can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of IC. He has also spoken of his research in the ICN Guest Lectures. Review the transcript here!

Dan Shoskes reported that the treatment was "well tolerated and provided significant symptomatic improvement in patients with IC." He said "The only theoretical risk is the combination of Cysta-Q with the quinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin, Tequin). Cysta-Q may prevent these antibiotics from binding properly to bacteria. The other concern is for pregnant women. It is known that antioxidants like quercetin at very high doses can actually begin to function as pro-oxidants and cause tissue damage. A Japanese study has shown that levels of quercetin in newborns are several times higher than in their mothers. Therefore, the use of Cysta-Q during pregnancy should be avoided."

In addition to the CystaQ & ProstaQ line of products, a new line of food supplements were introduced by Dr. Theoharis Theoharides and colleagues. The Algonot family of products (Algonot, Cystoprotek & Prostoprotek) have created a lot of excitement among ICN users. They not only use quercetin, but also include glucosamine, chrondroitin and sodium hyaluronate. These latter ingredients are believed to help restore or rebuild the bladder wall.

In a lecture by Dr. Theoharides on our website, he offered:

The protective lining of the bladder is made up what we call the GAG (glycosaminoglycans). This layer is made of two components, which are sort of intertangled with each other. One is chondroitin sulfate and the other is sodium hyaluronate (SH). One major difference between the two is that chondroitin in sulfated and sodium hyaluronate is not. It was shown that sodium hyaluronate was increased in the urine of IC patients and it was increased more than other sulfated gags which meant that the bladder of IC patients was losing this protective sodium hyaluronate more than other components.

There were three studies published in the last year. One clinical study gave SH intravesically into the bladder in IC patients and about 1/3 of them got better. The other study that we did involved rats. We found that by protecting the bladder with SH before causing bladder irritation, appeared to protect the bladder from irritation. In another study, the SH seemed to help increase the healing of the bladder mucosa. These were significant enough in my mind to see if we could incorporate SH in the new formulations. Please read Dr. Theo's two lectures for additional information and related research!

CystaQ, ProstaQ, Cystoprotek, Prostoprotek & Algonot are now available for purchase in the ICN Shop.

This section of the ICN Patient Handbook is intended to be an informational tool only. Because this chapter discusses alternative methods, they may not have been approved or investigated by any regulatory or government agency. The content is not to be intended in any way to be a substitute for professional medical advise. Always seek the advise of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding this section of the ICN Patient Handbook.

The ICN follows the HonCode: Health Code of Conduct for Medical Web Sites. As such, we do not and cannot recommend any books or materials which offer herbal strategies, yet offer no research supporting those claims

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