Tag Archives: Luteolin

Luteolin & Quercetin

I still get frustrated at the lack of information on the histamine content in foods.  There is barely any research on the subject and I have no idea what information most of the low histamine food lists is based on (my own included).  I found the same when trying to research anti-inflammatory foods.

After listening to Dr Theo’s talk yesterday, and the fact that luteolin and quercetin are mast cell stabilizing compounds, I looked up “high flavanoid foods” and again found very little.  After Googling til my fingers bled, however, I came across this site from the US Department of Agriculture which pools loads of small research studies and lists the information in a table.  Hurrahhh!  I then spent most of the day analysing the data and came up with a list of the highest sources of both luteolin and quercetin from the foods listed (please note, the following table is not exhaustive and there may be other really good sources which aren’t included as they haven’t been involved in research trials).

The top 5 food sources containing both luteolin and quercetin from the data are:

  1. Dried oregano (fresh isn’t half as potent)
  2. Juniper berries
  3. Raw radicchio
  4. Yellow hot chilli peppers
  5. Green hot chilli peppers

The amount of luteolin in dried oregano is staggering: 1028 per 100 mg, the highest source by a mile.  The luteolin in juniper berries is 69 per 100mg, so you can see the difference.  From the data, it appears luteolin is only found in high quantities in a small number of foods, unlike quercetin which is much more readily available.

The top 5 luteolin food sources are:

  1. Dried oregano
  2. Celery seed
  3. Juniper berries
  4. Fresh thyme
  5. Radicchio and chinese celery

The fact that dried oregano is much higher in luteolin than fresh is surprising, as you always think fresh is best.  Celery seed, as against fresh celery, was also interesting.  I then wondered how to incorporate more celery seed into my meals and thought celery salt was worth a try – commercially it’s made up of crushed celery seeds mixed with normal salt, or you can make your own by crushing the seeds and adding them to twice their quantity of regular salt.  Fresh juniper berries are fairly hard to come by here in the UK, but you can get dried – there’s some information on how to use them on the BBC food website.  I haven’t come across chinese celery before, and think it will only be available from Asian grocers here, but obviously radicchio is widely available.

The top 5 quercetin food sources are:

  1. Raw capers
  2. Tinned capers and raw lovage leaves
  3. Elderberry juice concentrate
  4. Raw dock leaves
  5. Raw raddish leaves, wild rocket (arugula), fresh dill weed, fresh coriander (cilantro), fresh fennel bulb (all being much of a muchness)

Eugh, I hate capers so am disappointed they’re both no.1 and no.2 on the list!  Lovage, however, is something easily incorporated into meals, particularly sandwiches and salads.  I was happy to see elderberries at no.3, as I drink Belvoir concentrated elderflower cordial and it’s gorgeous.  Dock leaves are only ever something I fed my rabbit as a kid 😉 .  The herbs and salad vegetables listed at no.5 are all easily added to meals.

There were a few high food sources of quercetin I didn’t include in my table, as I’d never heard of them but my overseas readers might have access to them so I’d recommend you take a look at the original list – all 146 pages of it 😉 .

Here is the table of all the high luteolin and quercetin foods I extracted.  The first group lists foods high in both luteolin and quercetin.  The next group lists foods only high in quercetin and the last group lists foods only high in luteolin.  I only extracted foods which had more than 10 mg/100 of flavanoid.

luteolin quercetin table

I was surprised to see that carob flour was much higher in quercetin that regular cocoa powder (which didn’t even make the list) and I need no more excuse to make more carob chip cookies 😉  Also a surprise was how relatively low down the list kale was, as it’s widely touted online to be an excellent source of quercetin.  Ditto with the “superfood” chia seeds.

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Talk by Dr Theoharides

Dr Theoharides is one of the leading mast cell experts in the world, and my Canary post was written based on his years of research.  This week, he was asked to give a talk to EDS Awareness on mast cell disease and a Youtube video is now available of this talk and associated slides.

Having listened to the lecture I didn’t really learn anything new that wasn’t in his 2013 video presentation, although I was excited to discover that a new, more potent, mast cell stabilizing supplement containing Luteolin will hopefully be on the market in the Autumn along with a cream for topical application called GentleDerm.

I was, however, very surprised to discover the extent of mast cell disease in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  1 in 3000 people in the general population have EDS.  1 in 2000 people in the general population have mast cell disease.  But, of those people with EDS 1 in 10 will also have mast cell disease.  That’s much, much higher than I’d imaged!  When asked why this might be, Dr Theo really had no idea and agreed research is needed.

Another thing learned from the talk, and which joined some dots for me, was about ligament laxity.  I’ve had a couple of people comment on my blog that when they were treated for MCAD their hypermobility/ligament laxity improved.  This didn’t seem feasible, as EDS isn’t curable, but it seems we were both right.  Mast cell activation causes ligament laxity, so if you don’t have Ehlers-Danlos then treating your mast cell disease should improve this symptom.  However, it will not treat the ligament laxity seen in EDS which is caused by faulty genes and if you have MCAD on top of your EDS it may make your existing ligament laxity worse.

Dr Theo also touches on co-morbid conditions in mast cell disease, of which ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease all feature – no surprise there.  However, he emphasises that ME/CFS, Fibro and Lyme aren’t caused by mast cell disease as they are all separate conditions in their own right, they are just seen much more in MCAD patients than the general population for reasons as yet unknown.

Dr Theo talked extensively about treatment options.  The drugs we currently have available treat the symptoms of MCAD, not the underlying disease process.  I was surprised to hear that Sodium Chromoglycate (Gastrocrom) only partially inhibits mast cell activation and recent research has shown it’s ineffective in most cases of mast cell disease, although some people still find it very useful in their treatment armoury.  He also talked of a drug called Rupatadine, which partially blocks mast cells, histamine and eosinophils (often associated with reflux) however it is not available in the USA and was withdrawn from the UK in March this year :-/

The only current option to totally block mast cell activation is from flavanoids, but you have to be very selective which flavanoids you use.  Luteolin and Quercetin are thought to be the best, and the ingredients used by Dr Theo in his NeuroProtek supplements.  Having had many anaphylactic reactions to supplements of all varieties I’m too chicken to try these capsules, so I aim to eat luteolin and quercetin rich foods instead even though I know they’re not in sufficient quantities as to make a huge difference.  I’m delving more into food sources of luteolin and quercetin in my next post with some very interesting findings!

Side note: There is an interview on YouTube with two mast cell disease patients, which outlines much of the information in Dr Theo’s lecture but in a simpler way.  Click here to watch.