Rutin is one of the most powerful flavonoids, abundant in many plants, fruits, and vegetables. As a strong antioxidant, rutin may fight inflammation and protect the heart and brain. It may also reduce bruising and help with vein problems. Keep reading to learn more – food sources and side effects included.
Rutin, also known as vitamin P or rutoside, is an important flavonoid. Many plants, fruits, and vegetables are a rich source of rutin, such as apples, passion flower, buckwheat, and tea. The name “rutin” comes from the plant Rue (Ruta graveolens), which also contains rutin. Eating foods rich in rutin on a daily basis has an array of potential benefits for the whole body [1, 2].
Like all flavonoids, rutin is an antioxidant. It’s one of the most important and well-researched flavonoids. Rutin has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting potential, and may protect the heart, liver, brain, and bones [1, 2, 3].
Rutin is not an especially large flavonoid, but specific parts of its molecule interact with different systems in the body, such as the brain, heart, or blood vessels.
For example, rutin contains two bound sugar molecules, which enhance its antioxidant effects on the brain .
Overall, rutin acts by :
- Protecting brain cells from damage
- Blocking inflammatory enzymes (phospholipase A2), similar to corticosteroids but without the side effects
- Reducing oxidative stress and free radicals
- Safely lowering high blood pressure, affecting similar pathways as drugs used for high blood pressure (blocks ACE)
- Boosting acetylcholine (by clocking the enzyme that degrades it, AChE)
- Binding to and neutralizing toxic compounds that build up in the body if exposed to radiation
- Relaxing blood vessels
Various flavonoids are being researched for their antioxidant effects. The studies that describe the antioxidant action of rutin alone are numerous… And it’s precisely this antioxidant capacity that enables rutin to protect vital organs from the harmful effects of free radicals on their tissues. These molecules can also damage the DNA and set off the development of cancer. Rutin, along with other flavonoids, could kill cancer cells and stop their spreading [4, 5].
Enlarged, or varicose veins are common during pregnancy, as well as in people who spend extended periods of time standing.
In another trial on over 100 elderly people with chronic vein insufficiency, the same rutin derivative improved swelling, heavy and restless legs, and leg cramps .
This supplement had the same benefits in another study of 22 people with varicose veins and venous insufficiency. The higher dose had a faster effect than the lower dose (2 g/day vs. 1 g/day), but everyone experienced the benefits in just 8 days. In another study on over 200 people, Venoruton was more effective than the combination of hesperidin and diosmin (Daflon) [9, 10].
Long flights increase the risk of leg swelling due to the combination of long-term immobility in a restricted space and low external pressure in the cabin, which increases capillary filtration. Venoruton successfully controlled leg swelling in 4 clinical trials on over 300 people flying for 7-11 hours [11, 12, 13, 14].
All in all, the evidence suggests that rutin may help with vein problems. You may discuss with your doctor if this flavonoid could be helpful in your case. Remember that you should never take rutin in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
Although limited, the evidence suggests that rutin may help with hemorrhoids. You may take it as an add-on to conventional therapies for this condition if your doctor determines that it may help you.
In a clinical trial on 40 middle-aged people, a topical cream with rutin increased skin elasticity and decreased the length, area, and the number of wrinkles. Rutin increased collagen production and reduced oxidative damage in skin cells in the same study .
Flavonoids, in general, can protect against UV rays. But rutin specifically could also be used in sunscreen. Rutin has an SPF effect, which could reach 30 when combined with other compounds in the lab .
Although the results are promising, the potential use of rutin to prevent skin aging has only been investigated in a clinical trial and animal and cell-based studies. Further clinical research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
No clinical evidence supports the use of rutin for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
Rutin protected rats who had a stroke from the detrimental effects of poor blood flow to the brain. It could also improve their memory, and ensure the survival of important brain cells located in the brain’s memory hub (the hippocampus) .
In one cellular study, rutin increased the survival of the neural crest – important cells that give rise to the nervous system, skin, and other tissues during fetal development. It shows potential for protecting the baby’s brain during pregnancy and ensuring it develops properly .
Rutin reduced brain inflammation and enhanced the survival of brain cells in rats with Alzheimer’s disease and those with failing cognition. Rutin could also protect from the effects of poor blood flow and oxidative stress in cells .
It decreased the production of inflammatory molecules in brain cells, such as TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta. It also blocked harmful reactive oxygen species, the inflammation-promoting nitric oxide, and helps stabilize the active form of glutathione. Glutathione, in turn, protects the body’s energy powerhouse – the mitochondria .
Flavonoids, in general, are well known for their heart-protective benefits.
Rutin increased the production of nitric oxide (NO) in blood vessel cells, which relaxes them and reduces blood pressure. Potentially, rutin could be beneficial for those with high blood pressure .
Rutin protected the pancreas, lowered glucose, and increased insulin levels in diabetic rats. It helped to restore normal levels of sugar reserves in the liver (glycogen) and enzymes that break down sugars while reducing fat stores .
Rutin seems to help re-balance sugar and fats use and breakdown in the body in animals. Along with its antioxidant action, rutin could potentially be helpful for people who suffer from diabetes.
Rutin also decreased total cholesterol levels in hamsters, with no reported adverse effects .
In rats, rutin protected the liver from damage and boosted antioxidant liver enzymes, preventing liver disease .
In postmenopausal rats with osteoporosis, rutin slowed down bone loss and increased bone mineralization .
In bone marrow immune cells, rutin blocked the development of bone-degrading cells. These cells are overactive in osteoporosis, a process rutin may be able to hinder. In fact, rutin can increase the activity of bone-building cells, which could help rebuild bones and maintain bone health .
This list does not cover all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any other side effects.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. In the US, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada, you may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Rutin is considered generally safe. There is no known harm to taking in large amounts of rutin-rich foods, such as buckwheat or apples (unless you are sensitive to any of those).
However, some people may be allergic to rutin. Rutin supplements can rarely cause :
- Skin irritation or allergies
- Eye irritation
- Respiratory irritation
Pregnant women should not worry about eating rutin-rich foods on a daily basis.
However, the use of the Rue plant should be avoided at all costs. Tea from this plant (Ruta graveolens) is used traditionally by women to induce abortions. The tea contains rutin, along with other active substances. In extreme cases, Rue tea use for abortion led to multiple organ system failure and serious health risks [35, 36, 37].
Supplement/Herb/Nutrient-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.
Both rutin and vitamin C are strong antioxidants. In one study, a lower concentration of vitamin C enhanced the antioxidant effects of rutin. But with higher vitamin C doses, this benefit was reduced .
Rutin increased the absorption of a breast cancer chemotherapy drug, paclitaxel (Taxol) .
It may also affect liver enzymes and reduce levels of sedative drugs like phenobarbital or synthetic hormones .
The main herbal sources of rutin are buckwheat, Japanese pagoda tree, and Eucalyptus. Other sources of rutin include lime tree flowers, passionflower, elderflowers, hawthorn leaves, and flowers, St. John’s Wort, and Ginkgo biloba [1, 2].
In supplement form, rutin is available as:
- Alone or in combination with vitamin C and other antioxidants
Rutin supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use due to the lack of solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing with rutin.
Because rutin is not approved by the FDA for any conditions, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error. Discuss with your doctor if rutin may be useful as a complementary strategy in your case and which dose you should take.
Up to 4 g/day orally was well-tolerated and effective in clinical studies, with no side effects .
Most of the commercially available supplements contain 500 mg of rutin per capsule/tablet.
There are yet to be clear dosage guidelines for rutin due to a lack of clinical research.
The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of rutin supplement users, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on SelfHacked. We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
One user reported that rutin (up to four 450 mg pills per day) significantly helped her manage pain from hemorrhoids.
Another user supplemented with rutin because to reduce bruising. She claimed it helped a lot and also reduced the appearance of aging skin.
Clinical studies are scarce; it’s unknown if rutin will show the same benefits in humans as animals, and what the rutin proper dosage should be. Additional studies are needed to evaluate its safety and efficacy.