Although most people have trouble getting even the minimal 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
Recommended by the USDA, it seems that everyone agrees that eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is very important for optimal good health.
But why are fruits and vegetables so good for us?
Well, apart from being high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, plant foods are good for us because they’re a rich source of antioxidant compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols protect plants from the oxidative stress caused by the sun’s UV rays, and by environmental pollution and pathogens. Humans who eat these plants get many benefits from the polyphenols they contain, including protection from asthma, allergies, cancer, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, diabetes and infections, as well as inflammation and premature aging.
Over 8,000 different polyphenols have been identified. Quercetin, the most common polyphenol, is also one of the most important and well-studied for its health benefits. Quercetin is found in onions, apples, grapes, tea, and many other plant foods. Other polyphenols include curcumin, resveratrol, ellagic acid (found especially in berries and pomegranates), and epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG (found especially in green tea).
But even a good diet may no longer be enough. There are so many oxidizing factors in our environment —stress, poor diets, environmental pollution, and other toxins, chronic illness and excess body fat, and chronic inflammation—that at Beyond Health we believe in an array of antioxidant supplements, including polyphenol supplements, has become necessary.
The question then becomes how to supplement. Although polyphenols in food are always safe, the same can’t be said for supplements. For example, there are hundreds of sources of quercetin. Some can cause cancer; others can irritate the intestines. Most forms are barely absorbed—the body assimilates only about 1%! Quercetin dihydrate, however (the form we use in both Beyond Health quercetin supplements) has been proven both safe and highly absorbable (close to 100%).
Polyphenols work best in combination with each other. In Beyond Health’s Quercetin Pro we’ve added rutin. Also a powerful antioxidant, rutin is known for its ability to strengthen capillary walls. We’ve also added whole grape extract, which contains a wide range of high-antioxidant polyphenols that have impressive anti-inflammatory properties and also strengthen collagen, the basic building material for all body structures including skin and bones.
Our super-strength quercetin product Cell Repair combines quercetin with two other extremely high-powered polyphenols: orthoproanthocyanidins (OPCs) extracted from grape seed and pomegranate juice powder. These super-potent OPCs, with antioxidant strength 50 times stronger than vitamin E, were specially formulated for solubility and bioavailability. While many other OPCs are only 2-3% soluble, ours are 92% fully soluble, bioactive, and solvent-free. Our pomegranate juice powder is also supercharged. We use a unique process of freeze-drying fresh pomegranate juice that maximizes its ellagic-acid content. Ellagic acid, a potent antioxidant polyphenol, also optimizes the effectiveness of quercetin and OPCs.
- Pandev KB. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. November-December 2009;2(5):270–278.
- Note: Polyphenol supplements are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects, and taking several different polyphenol supplements will only enhance their effectiveness. However pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory COX inhibitors use a different mechanism that competes with the way polyphenols work. These include over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Aleve and Advil and the prescription COX2-inhibitor drugs. So combining high-dose polyphenol supplements with COX inhibitors is likely to make both less effective.
- Some naturopaths recommend taking periodic breaks from quercetin supplementation.