Quercetin supplementation improves rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and disease activity

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An article appearing online on October 6, 2016 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports a benefit for supplementing with quercetin in a randomized, double-blind trial of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The trial included 40 female rheumatoid arthritis patients who were given 500 milligrams quercetin or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Blood samples collected prior to and after the treatment period were analyzed for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma high-sensitivity tumor necrosis factor-alpha, (hs-TNFa, a marker of inflammation). The findings of physician-administered examinations that determined the number of swollen and tender joints were combined with ESR results to calculate disease activity. Health Assessment Questionnaires assessed quality of life and disability.

At the end of the trial, women who received quercetin had less early morning stiffness, morning pain and pain after activity compared to pretreatment levels. In contrast, those who received a placebo experienced nonsignificant changes in these areas. Disease activity scores, number of tender joints, Health Assessment Questionnaire scores, and physician global assessments significantly improved in the quercetin group while remaining essentially unchanged among those who received a placebo. By the end of the study, ESR was slightly lower and tumor necrosis factor-alpha was significantly lower in quercetin-treated subjects, while no significant changes occurred in the placebo group.

"To our knowledge, the present study was the first study that examined the effect of quercetin supplement alone on the severity and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in women," announce authors Fatemeh Javadi, MSc, of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and colleagues. "In our study, quercetin decreased inflammatory cytokine hs-TNFa possibly through suppression of gene expression of cytokines based on previous studies, but it seems that some of other inflammatory factors like ESR need a longer duration of supplementation to produce a significant change."


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