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12 Surprising Health Benefits of Myricetin

Written by Helen Quach, BS (Biochemistry) | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology) | Written by Helen Quach, BS (Biochemistry) | Last updated:

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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.

What is Myricetin?

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.

Sources

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:

  • Oranges [4]
  • Blueberry leaves [5]
  • Japanese raisin tree (oriental raisin tree) [2]
  • Grapes (grape seeds) [6]
  • Broccoli [7]
  • Cabbage [7]
  • Peppers (red chili, green chili, bell peppers) [7]
  • Garlic [7]
  • Cashew (shoots) [7]
  • Guava [7]
  • French beans [7]
  • Tomato [7]
  • Apple [7]
  • Green and black tea [3]

Mechanism

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].

Health Benefits of Myricetin

1) Is Antioxidant

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].

2) Is Anti-Inflammatory

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].

3) Has Anticancer Properties

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:

  • Cervical [23]
  • Brain [23]
  • Leukemia [23]
  • Endometrial [23]
  • Breast (by inhibiting the activity of aromatase enzyme) [24, 25]
  • Prostate [26]
  • Skin [27]
  • Bladder [28]
  • Pancreatic [29]
  • Colon [30]

4) May Help with Diabetes

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].

5) Protects the Brain

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].

6) May Protect the Heart

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].

7) May Prevent Weight Gain

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].

8) Is Antimicrobial

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].

9) May Protect the Skin

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].

10) May Protect Eyesight

Cataracts are one of the most common eyesight problems of the elderly. Diabetes and oxidative stress can lead to the formation of cataracts. Due to myricetin’s antioxidant and glucose-balancing properties, it prevented cataract formation in rats [54].

Myricetin protects retinal (eye) cells. The anti-inflammatory properties may also help in relieving macular edema (swelling of the retina due to liquid buildup) [55].

11) May Protect the Bones

Myricetin helps and promotes the maturation of osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone formation). This helps in increasing bone mass [56].

It also protects bone cells from oxidative injuries, especially in diabetes [57].

12) May Help Thyroid Function

Myricetin increases iodine uptake as well as iodine retention by thyroid cells. Increased iodine uptake reduces the chances of goiter [58, 59].

Iodine retention by thyroid cells makes myricetin useful in radioiodine treatment for thyroid cancer [58].

Other Effects of Myricetin

Reproduction

Exposure to myricetin increased sperm motility in the human ejaculate (sperm samples), which may help increase fertility [60].

Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers suggested myricetin treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties [61, 62].

Pain

In rats, myricetin was effective at relieving pain [63].

Allergies

Myricetin acted as an anti-allergen in mice allergic to egg white [64].

Limitations and Caveats

There are not many human trials available for myricetin. Most of the available myricetin studies were performed in test tubes, cells, or animals. Therefore, take caution when using myricetin for its purported health benefits.

Side Effects & Precautions

Research hasn’t shown any significant side effects of taking myricetin, however, myricetin often causes cell death even in cells exposed to low levels of UV radiations [65].

You should avoid inhaling myricetin because it may cause shortness of breath.

Protective gloves and goggles should be used when handling myricetin.

Myricetin causes skin, eye, and respiratory irritation [66].

Therefore, you should consult your doctor before taking myricetin.

Drug Interactions

Myricetin improved the uptake of tamoxifen (for cancer), doxorubicin (increased uptake only when taken orally to treat cancer), and losartan (to treat high blood pressure) [67].

The rate of increased uptake of drugs was directly related to the dose of myricetin.

Gene Interactions

In macrophages, myricetin treatment decreased CD36 production (expression) and blocked CD36 proteins that were already present on the cells, which prevented it from binding with oxidized LDL. The binding of CD36 with oxidized LDL is one of the reasons for atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) [68].

Therefore, by blocking CD36 present on macrophages, myricetin decreases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease [69, 70, 71, 72].

Myricetin also inhibited the promoter for IL-12 [73].

IL-12 blocks the formation of new blood vessels and is also involved in autoimmunity [74, 75, 76].

User Reviews

Most of the users are happy with the results they are getting. Users have shown satisfaction over the ability of myricetin to maintain blood pressure, weight, and blood glucose. A reviewer praised its long-term effectiveness: “I have been using the supplement for 10 years now. My type 2 diabetes hasn’t progressed even after 15 years of diagnoses like some of the other people I know.”

Some of the users had a neutral opinion after using myricetin as they weren’t sure if they were getting results specifically due to myricetin since they were using other supplements too.

No side effects were reported by any of the reviewers.

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About the Author

Helen Quach

BS (Biochemistry)

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