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Vitamin C and Dihydroquercetin

December 2006

By Mark J. Neveu, PhD

Dihydroquercetin Inhibits Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

Because of its forceful antioxidant abilities, dihydroquercetin can search for and destroy two of the most dangerous types of free radicals in the body: the superoxide and peroxide radicals. Dihydroquercetin also works overtime to protect red and white blood cells. Studies show that it protects white blood cells from environmental injury and prevents oxidative cell death in red blood cells. The result is a stronger, more vigorous immune system that can aggressively police and protect critical cell units throughout the body.24-26

Dihydroquercetin Averts Complications of Diabetes

One of the most dreaded of diseases, diabetes has particularly damaging consequences for the cardiovascular system and the eyes. Dihydroquercetin may offer much-needed support for people who are trying to manage or reverse the effects of type II diabetes.

Scientists have noted that people with type II diabetes are at higher risk for arterial disease. This is partly because type II diabetes increases the capacity of certain white blood cells called neutrophils to adhere to the blood vessel lining, or endothelium.42 This may contribute to vascular disease throughout the body, particularly in the essential blood vessels of the heart. A Russian study found that dihydroquercetin inhibits the pro-inflammatory activity of neutrophils in patients with type II diabetes,43 and thus may help protect the vascular system against the damaging effects of the disease.

In diabetics, dihydroquercetin has been found to protect against two common causes of vision loss: macular degeneration and cataract. Macular degeneration occurs when an area of the eye’s retina that is responsible for detailed vision begins to deteriorate. Dihydroquercetin promotes blood flow to this region of the eye, which offers protection against vision loss. Also, by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme in the eye lens, dihydroquercetin may help to prevent cataract formation in diabetic patients.44,45

As Life Extension readers know, inflammation is a key culprit in degenerative diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Dihydroquercetin has shown its ability to reduce inflammation-producing enzymes such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and to inhibit inflammatory mediators, including cytokines.27-30 The COX-2 enzyme has been the focus of extensive pharmaceutical research that has produced drugs such as Vioxx® and Celebrex®. These drugs went on to be implicated in the creation of lethal heart disease. Dihydroquercetin may provide a safe alternative to certain pharmaceuticals used to address inflammation.

Inflammation also makes its presence known through allergic reactions. Histamines are widely recognized as the trigger of most allergic episodes. Dihydroquercetin suppresses the release of histamines, thereby reducing the severity of allergic occurrences.31

Dihydroquercetin Protects Against Liver Damage and Hepatitis

Many chemicals used for industrial and commercial purposes—such as dioxins, dibenzofurans, and carbon tetrachloride—act like poisons in the liver. Some can induce liver toxicity and hepatitis by promoting the peroxidation of lipids.46 Through its powerful antioxidant effects, dihydroquercetin may protect the liver against both toxic exposure and viral infection. When rats were supplemented with dihydroquercetin for four days before being exposed to a chemical formerly used in the dry cleaning and refrigeration industries, they were protected against the toxin’s hepatitis-inducing effects.47

Moreover, in a mouse model of liver injury, dihydroquercetin was more effective than vitamin E in inhibiting the biochemical changes that can lead to hepatitis. Specifically, dihydroquercetin blocked production of pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-alpha as well as the infiltration of immune system cells.48-50

Dihydroquercetin also shows promise in fighting virally induced hepatitis A. The hepatitis A virus is typically contracted through eating unsanitary food. In the laboratory, dihydroquercetin inhibited the replication and pathogenic effects of the hepatitis A virus.51

Supplementation with dihydroquercetin thus offers important benefits for the liver by helping to protect against the damaging effects of exposure to toxins and viral hepatitis infection.

Studies Confirm Safety and Efficacy

Studies indicate that dihydroquercetin is highly safe and efficacious. In fact, research suggests that dihydroquercetin is even safer than its nutritional cousin, quercetin.61,62 No toxic effects were observed in rats that were treated with high levels of dihydroquercetin for long periods of time.63

Dihydroquercetin Alleviates Arthritis Pain, Inflammation

The most common types of arthritis result from either inflammation-induced deterioration of the cartilage in joints (osteoarthritis) or the body’s autoimmune attack against its own joint tissues (rheumatoid arthritis). Dihydroquercetin may offer benefits for both types of arthritis.52,53

One of the important ways in which dihydroquercetin may limit the onset of arthritis is by blocking the expression of inflammatory biochemicals. This action has been shown to avert the development of autoimmune-induced arthritis.53 Additionally, dihydroquercetin inhibits the formation of activated immune cells, which could be effective in treating a variety of autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.31,54

Furthermore, dihydroquercetin may offer natural pain relief. In a study in mice, dihydroquercetin was more potent than aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) in inhibiting pain and inflammation.55

Dihydroquercetin may thus hold promise in averting the inflammation and autoimmune activity that contribute to arthritis. In existing instances of pain and inflammation, dihydroquercetin may offer natural relief from the discomfort of arthritis.


While people in Russia require a prescription to acquire the many benefits of dihydroquercetin and vitamin C, this broad-spectrum nutrient combination is now readily available as a low-cost dietary supplement to Americans seeking to enhance their health and well-being. By protecting and enhancing vitamin C as it courses through the body, dihydroquercetin dramatically increases the benefits of this important nutrient.

Dihydroquercetin Provides Immune Support

Exciting studies indicate that dihydroquercetin may support the fight against two types of serious infection: pneumonia and HIV.

Investigators examined dihydroquercetin’s effects in patients suffering from acute pneumonia. When individuals undergoing standard therapy supplemented with an antioxidant formula featuring dihydroquercetin, they recovered faster from symptoms of lung inflammation compared to patients who underwent traditional therapy alone.56

Preliminary studies may suggest a role for dihydroquercetin in fighting the HIV virus. Dihydroquercetin was recently isolated as the active component in the stem bark of Chinese walnut, a plant extract that selectively kills cells infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.57 Moreover, dihydroquercetin was found to inhibit the activity of an enzyme that viruses such as HIV use to replicate their genetic material.58

Substantial scientific evidence suggests that this novel combination of nutrients confers powerful, synergistic protection against some of the most common and dangerous diseases of aging, including cardiovascular, neurological, and diabetic disorders. Incorporating vitamin C and dihydroquercetin in a daily supplementation program is a simple, low-cost way to further strengthen the body’s natural antioxidant defenses.

Dihydroquercetin Soothes Irritated Skin

In a human study of skin inflammation, dihydroquercetin blocked various biochemicals that contribute to dermatitis.29 Dihydroquercetin alleviates skin inflammation by stimulating a powerful, anti-inflammatory cytokine molecule known as IL-10.59,60 IL-10 helps reduce the skin’s hypersensitivity reactions to external agents, an all-too-common cause of dermatitis.


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