Quercetin & Histamines


By Jes Williams  @feelmoregooder

Though this post contains information that is beneficial for all human beings, it will be especially helpful for those that suffer from allergies or are generally in suboptimal health. The deeper we dig into the world of plant compounds, the more we can understand how to harness the potency of nature to serve our vitality & wellness. With the mindset that nature has our back, we can look at plants & plant compounds with reverence, curiosity, and a desire to incorporate them in an intentional way. Uncovering the layered benefits of a plant compound called quercetin is a great entry point.

What is Quercetin?

Quercetin is a naturally occurring plant compound that's found in significant concentrations in onion skins, capers, garlic, dill, cilantro/coriander (both coming from the coriandrum sativum plant), fennel, elderberries, bee pollen, and okra. Additionally, quercetin is found commonly in flowers, stems, roots, bark, wine, tea, berries, and other fruits such as apples. (1)

It is known mostly for its ability to combat symptoms related to seasonal issues/discomfort. Quercetin also offers a multitude of other attributes such as being anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic (reduces blood clots), and being antitumor. (2,3) This potent plant compound offers some incredible benefits to the human body.

You can find it in bioavailable form in our product, QuercElite®  and our limited edition QuercElite Pro (while supplies last). Since quercetin is normally only 5% bioavailable, we have formulated QuercElite® with broccoli seed complex to increase bioavailability. The inclusion of this broccoli seed complex allows quercetin to cross the cell membrane, thus making it more effective. In other words, it works better & faster.

What is a Histamine?

Histamines are produced from your body's innate immune response to seasonal issues and allergens. However, it's crucial to understand that the role of  histamines in the body far surpasses the topic of theses seasonal disturbances. Histamines are produced in the body by mast cells (a type of white blood cell), which act as a sort of detector to protect the body from unwanted substances, foods, contaminants, etc.

Additionally, Dr. Jolene Brighten says that "mast cells not only release histamines, but they also have receptors for estrogen. When estrogen binds to these receptors, more histamine is released from mast cells in your uterus. So the more estrogen you have in your body (think estrogen dominance), the more histamine is released." (5) In other words, the histamine story spills over onto the hormone story - the implications are not limited to immunity.

Some of the symptoms you may experience that are related to histamine include digestive issues like bloating, runny nose, shortness of breath, skin rashes, brain fog, joint pain/inflammation, increased heart rate, dizziness, acid reflux, significant fatigue, and low blood pressure.

There are many things that can cause your mast cells to release histamine; here are a few of them:

Histamine Triggers

  • Poor air quality
  • Exposure to high pollen, dander, or mold/mycotoxins
  • Gut dysbiosis and having your microbiome compromised
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Stress (emotional and physical)
  • Emotional and/or physical trauma 
  • Infections (bacterial and/or viral)
  • Sudden/drastic temperature changes
  • Medications that block DAO (an enzyme your body makes to break down histamine in the gut)
  • Insect bites
  • Chemicals, toxins, contaminants
  • Certain foods/supplements

Foods High in Histamines

Some foods to be aware of that are high in histamine (which you can temporarily pause until symptoms resolve) are:

  • Fermented or aged dairy products 
  • Gluten and yeast-containing foods
  • Berries
  • Fermented foods (kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso)
  • Alcohol
  • Cured or smoked fish & meats
  • Shellfish
  • Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine)
  • Vinegar (all varieties)
  • Leftovers

Keep in mind, it's not always necessary to stop eating these foods. Everyone is different and the severity of bodily reactions will vary. Thus, so will each personalized protocol. Let this list simply serve as a tool to help you understand potential sources of histamine that could exacerbate symptoms.

Quercetin's Impact on Histamines

Amongst the robust list of benefits that the compound quercetin offers the body is the ability to inhibit histamine release. (2) When you encounter any of the above histamine triggers, quercetin can be an indispensable ally for you. Though you can get quercetin through some of the foods listed above, know that the dosage and bioavailability won't likely be enough to diminish symptoms if you're in the midst of a histamine-related reaction.

Impressively, quercetin is more effective than a drug called cromolyn in inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from mast cells. (4) Furthermore, quercetin is shown to alleviate symptoms of allergies like eye itching, sneezing, nasal discharge, and disordered sleep. (6)

Quercetin is more effective than cromolyn in inhibiting IL-8 and TNF release from LAD2 mast cells. Interestingly, quercetin is effective prophylactically, while cromolyn must be added together with the trigger or it rapidly loses its effect. In two pilot, open-label, clinical trials, quercetin significantly decreased contact dermatitis and photosensitivity, skin conditions that do not respond to conventional treatment.

DOI ID:0033805

PMS & Histamine

For women, it can be helpful to understand that there's a link between histamine and PMS (pre-menstrual symptoms). The female cycling body releases histamine before & during your period to assist the uterine contraction and shedding of the uterine lining. This uptick in histamines may not cause a major issue nor symptoms for everyone. But, if your body's histamine load is already high, or you consume an abundance of high-histamine foods during this part of your cycle, it can manifest in histamine-related PMS symptoms such as excessive cramping, headaches, and more. (11) Many might find success by targeting this aspect of their cycle by incorporating bioavailable quercetin.

Additional Quercetin Benefits

In addition to the benefits we've already highlighted, quercetin offers many tertiary perks. Quercetin is shown to decrease levels of oxidative stress (implied in cell motility) (7), helps you to reduce inflamed skin and improve acne (8), and plays an important role in aging.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10384403
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9300296/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8741364/
  4. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0033805
  5. https://drbrighten.com/estrogen-histamine-connection/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35776034/
  7. https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1750-3841.12223
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33812252/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35935939/
  10. https://integrative-medicine.ca/the-connection-between-pms-and-histamine/

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