Quercetin, Bromelain, and Gut Health

The intestinal tract is the largest immune organ in the body and is a home for trillions of microbes collectively known as our gut microbiome.

Diet, exposure to heavy metals, toxic substances, bacterial toxins, herbicides, and antibiotics can all impact the microbiome and, consequently, our gut health.

We know that Quercetin is a potent plant-based antioxidant, but new to the conversation is Quercetin's antioxidant prebiotic properties that may help to support gut balance by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.*

—a little about a lot

A Gut In Balance

As a prebiotic, Quercetin was found to help sustain and increase beneficial microbes like lactobacillus, roseburia, and a. muciniphila while decreasing harmful bacteria populations like escherichia coli (e.coli) and salmonella typhimurium.*

Living in Harmony with our Gastrointestinal Immune System

Immune cells called macrophages are key players in maintaining balanced gut health. These specialized white blood cells eliminate invading viruses and help to regulate inflammatory processes in the gut.

Quercetin may support a more harmonious body-microbe cellular environment by helping to regulate the activity of these vital immune cells in the intestines.*

Food Sensitivities On the Rise

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed more than 390 food allergens. Food sensitivities may impact as much as 10% of the global population. 

The well of peer-reviewed literature goes deep when looking into what might positively support gut health. Only recently have scientists started looking at antioxidant flavonols and polyphenols and their relationship to the gut. 

Balanced Immune Response

On our dive, we learned that Quercetin could bind to proteins associated with food sensitivities (like wheat gliadin) in ways that may help us to digest these proteins with a more balanced immune response.* 

We also learned that Quercetin might also help regulate histamine output from irritant-activated white blood cells like basophils and mast cells, functions that may help regulate our response to food sensitivities.* 

Fighting Free Radicals in the Gut

As a potent scavenger of free radicals, Quercetin's antioxidant action and support of intracellular glutathione helps to shield intestinal cells from oxidative stress-triggered death.* 

Studies suggest that Bromelain supports a healthy immune system response to cellular stress, through antioxidant activity and by helping to balance the expression of certain immune system processes.*

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme derived from the pineapple plant's stem, fruit, and juice. Even though it's extracted from pineapple, unfortunately, eating or drinking pineapple fruit and juice doesn't supply enough meaningful dosages of Bromelain. 

Digestive Health

As a proteolytic enzyme, Bromelain helps break down proteins from food into smaller components like amino acids, phytonutrients (plant nutrients), and vitamins and minerals that the body can absorb more efficiently. It has been found to help support improved digestion of proteins in adults.*

Microbiome Benefits

Research on supplementation suggests that Bromelain may support nutrient digestion and the growth of beneficial gut bacteria: Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Akkermansia muciniphila.* 

Further supporting microbiome balance, Bromelain was found to suppress potentially harmful proteobacteria.*

In the gut, Quercetin has been found to:

  • increase the expression of tight junction proteins vital for bolstering intestinal barrier function.*
  • Promote intestinal cell proliferation and the regenerative capability of stem cells.*

Additionally, Quercetin may help promote healthy mucin levels in the gut, proteins that play an essential role in lubricating and protecting intestinal wall cells from invading pathogens, environmental irritants, and toxins.*

Bromelain was also found to promote healthy mucin levels in the gut and helped to nourish Akkermansia muciniphila, a beneficial probiotic linked to improved gut barrier function.*

Beyond the Bullet Points

Dig deeper into the literature evolving around quercetin & bromelain, and gut health.

Abdel-Latif, M. A., Elbestawy, A. R., El-Far, A. H., Noreldin, A. E., Emam, M., Baty, R. S., ... & Abd El-Hamid, H. S. (2021). Quercetin dietary supplementation advances growth performance, gut microbiota, and intestinal mrna expression genes in broiler chickens.Animals,11(8), 2302. Link

Etxeberria, U., Arias, N., Boqué, N., Macarulla, M. T., Portillo, M. P., Martínez, J. A., & Milagro, F. I. (2015). Reshaping faecal gut microbiota composition by the intake of trans-resveratrol and quercetin in high-fat sucrose diet-fed rats.The Journal of nutritional biochemistry,26(6), 651-660. Link

Ghimire, S., Wongkuna, S., Sankaranarayanan, R., Ryan, E. P., Bhat, G. J., & Scaria, J. (2021). Positive synergistic effects of quercetin and rice bran on human gut microbiota reduces Enterobacteriaceae family abundance and elevates propionate in a bioreactor model.Frontiers in Microbiology,12, 751225. Link

Grondin, J. A., Kwon, Y. H., Far, P. M., Haq, S., & Khan, W. I. (2020). Mucins in intestinal mucosal defense and inflammation: learning from clinical and experimental studies.Frontiers in immunology,11, 2054. Link

He, S., Wu, Z., & Jin, R. (2022). Food allergenic protein conjugation with plant polyphenols for allergenicity reduction.Current Opinion in Food Science,43, 36-42. Link

Kawabata, K., Sugiyama, Y., Sakano, T., & Ohigashi, H. (2013). Flavonols enhanced production of anti‐inflammatory substance (s) by Bifidobacterium adolescentis: Prebiotic actions of galangin, quercetin, and fisetin.Biofactors,39(4), 422-429. Link

Kostiuchenko, O., Kravchenko, N., Markus, J., Burleigh, S., Fedkiv, O., Cao, L., ... & Prykhodko, O. (2022). Effects of Proteases from Pineapple and Papaya on Protein Digestive Capacity and Gut Microbiota in Healthy C57BL/6 Mice and Dose-Manner Response on Mucosal Permeability in Human Reconstructed Intestinal 3D Tissue Model. Metabolites, 12(11), 1027. Link

Lyu, Y. L., Zhou, H. F., Yang, J., Wang, F. X., Sun, F., & Li, J. Y. (2022). Biological activities underlying the therapeutic effect of quercetin on inflammatory bowel disease.Mediators of Inflammation,2022. Link

Middleton, E., Kandaswami, C., & Theoharides, T. C. (2000). The effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. Pharmacological reviews, 52(4), 673-751. Link

Rathnavelu, V., Alitheen, N. B., Sohila, S., Kanagesan, S., & Ramesh, R. (2016). Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. Biomedical reports, 5(3), 283-288. Link

Shi, T., Bian, X., Yao, Z., Wang, Y., Gao, W., & Guo, C. (2020). Quercetin improves gut dysbiosis in antibiotic-treated mice.Food & function,11(9), 8003-8013. Link

Su, L., Zeng, Y., Li, G., Chen, J., & Chen, X. (2022). Quercetin improves high‐fat diet‐induced obesity by modulating gut microbiota and metabolites in C57BL/6J mice. Phytotherapy Research, 36(12), 4558-4572. Link

Wang, J., Chen, W. D., & Wang, Y. D. (2020). The relationship between gut microbiota and inflammatory diseases: the role of macrophages.Frontiers in microbiology,11, 1065. Link

Wang, Q., Tang, Y., Yang, Y., Zhao, J., Zhang, Y., Li, L., ... & Ming, J. (2020). Interaction between wheat gliadin and quercetin under different pH conditions analyzed by multi-spectroscopy methods.Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy,229, 117937. Link

Zhou, K. (2017). Strategies to promote abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila, an emerging probiotics in the gut, evidence from dietary intervention studies.Journal of functional foods,33, 194-201. Link