Myricetin is a natural substance found in many vegetables and fruits. It is a good antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and offers many other health benefits at very little risk of side effects. Read on to know why you should make myricetin an important part of your nutrition.
Myricetin, also known as myricetol, is a naturally occurring compound that belongs to the group of chemicals known as flavonoids [ 1 ].
Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant properties. Myricetin, in particular, stands out in this group as it is a better antioxidant compared to other flavonoids.
A variant of myricetin (dihydromyricetin or ampelopsin) gives the oriental raisin tree its “anti-hangover” properties. The oriental raisin tree has been used as a hangover cure, as it reduces the alcohol levels in the blood [ 2 ].
Myricetin is also attached to many sugar storing molecules in plants (glycosides). Glycosides in flowers of Roselle are beneficial for patients with high blood pressure, as they reduce blood pressure.
Myricetin occurs naturally in many vegetables and fruits along with other edible parts of plants. Red wine also contains myricetin [ 3 ].
Some of the commonly available fruits and vegetables that are a good source of myricetin are:
Myricetin works by disrupting cellular pathways. It interacts with enzymes and suppresses their activities (enzyme inhibition).
It inhibits phosphodiesterase enzymes (PDE), which are involved in setting up inflammatory responses against injuries or toxins [ 8 ].
Myricetin also blocks aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen . This blockage has the potential to prevent breast cancer [ 9 , 10 ].
Free radicals and reactive oxygen species that form in our bodies can harm our cells, tissues, and bodies.
Myricetin, like all flavonoids, has antioxidant properties [ 11 , 12 ].
In a test tube study, the antioxidant activity of myricetin increased in the presence of ascorbic acid and iron [ 13 ].
Myricetin prevented human platelets (blood cells) from clotting , which is an important step in the inflammation process [ 14 ].
It also suppressed protein kinases (enzymes that enable the function of other enzymes), many of which act as signaling molecules during inflammation [ 15 ].
Since it is a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory molecule, myricetin is also a possible solution for chronic inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis [ 16 ].
Myricetin also inhibited snake venom PLA2, which causes inflammation and pain [ 16 ].
DNA in normal cells have special genes called oncogenes, or tumor suppressor genes. These genes control cell division and prevent cancer [ 17 ]. If DNA in normal cells undergoes oxidative damage and mutations in these genes occur, it may lead to cancer.
Since myricetin is a good antioxidant, it protects DNA from oxidative damage [ 18 , 19 ]. The prevention of oxidative damage to DNA reduces the risk of cancer .
Although myricetin is a good antioxidant, it can also act as a pro-oxidant in the presence of certain ions such as copper [ 20 , 21 ]. In this form (myricetin-copper complexes), myricetin is toxic to cancer cells causing cell death (apoptosis). Copper-myricetin complexes produce reactive oxygen species that break DNA in cancer cells [ 20 ].
Cisplatin, in combination with myricetin, increased inhibition of cancer cell growth and increased cell death compared to cisplatin by itself [ 22 ].
Myricetin has a chemopreventive potential for the following types of cancer:
In rats, myricetin treatment decreased high blood sugar by 50% within a couple of days of treatment [ 31 ].
Myricetin also increased glucose uptake by muscles and other cells [ 32 , 33 ].
In a study (RCT) of 42 diabetic patients, Blueberin supplement containing 50 mg of myricetin reduced blood glucose when compared to the control group [ 34 ].
Progression of Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with an increased phosphorylation of tau proteins. Myricetin decreased this phosphorylation, and therefore, may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease [ 23 ].It also blocks β-amyloid aggregates formation, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease [ 35 ].Myricetin decreases glutamate . Excessive glutamate has been associated with chronic brain disorders [ 36 ].Myricetin improved spatial learning in mice subjected to stress . This improvement was associated with the ability of myricetin to increase BDNF in the hippocampus [ 37 ].Myricetin also increases the activity of GABAA receptors. GABA improves mood, relieves anxiety , and enhances deep sleep [ 38 , 39 , 40 ].When blood returns to tissues after periods of lack of oxygen, it can cause inflammation and oxidative damage to the tissue. This is known as reperfusion injury [ 41 ].Myricetin protects the heart from reperfusion injury by inhibiting the activation of STAT-1 [ 42 ].In guinea pigs, myricetin treatment also caused a 27% decrease in cholesterol deposition in blood vessels [ 43 ].In rats, myricetin reduced oxidative damage as well as reduced high blood pressure. It also slowed down the heart rate and reduced sodium in the urine [ 44 ].Myricetin also decreased toxicity induced by isoproterenol in rats. This shows a potential of myricetin for the treatment of heart attack [ 45 ].Myricetin inhibits the formation of fat-storing cells [ 46 , 47 ].This can help in controlling fat deposition and obesity caused by diets rich in carbohydrates and fats [ 48 ].Myricetin increases Cl‑ secretions in the tissue of the respiratory (breathing) tract. This thins the mucus in cystic fibrosis patients and helps the movement of cilia (hairs that clean trachea by moving mucus out of trachea). The cleanup of the trachea prevents infections by virus and bacteria in cystic fibrosis patients [ 49 ]. It also suppressed the enzyme reverse transcriptase in HIV, which is crucial for virus replication [ 50 ].Myricetin inhibits Fyn , which causes skin cancer in the presence of UV rays [ 51 ].It also suppresses RAF kinase enzyme, which is responsible for wrinkle formation in the skin [ 52 ].In cells, myricetin-3- O -β-rhamnoside (myricetin with an added rhamnose sugar) increased fibroblast (cells that repair wounds) migration to the wound site. This significantly decreased healing time [ 53 ].Cataracts are one of the most common eyesight problems […]