Authors: Wang W, Sun C, Mao L, Ma P, Liu F, Yang J.



Quercetin, one of the most well-known flavonoids, has been included in human diet for a long history. The use of quercetin has been widely associated with a great number of health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer as well as the function to ease some cardiovascular diseases (i.e., heart disease, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol). However, poor water solubility, chemical instability and low bioavailability of quercetin greatly limit its applications. Utilization of delivery systems can improve its stability, efficacy and bioavailability.

Scope and approach
In this review, biological activities, chemical stability, metabolism and toxicity of quercetin and different delivery systems for quercetin were discussed.

Key findings and conclusions
Quercetin digested in human body (e.g., mouth, small intestine, liver, kidneys) undergoes glucuronidation, sulfation or methylation. During the food processing and storage, many factors such as heat, pH, metal ions, could affect the chemical stability (including oxidation and degradation) of quercetin. Utilization of delivery systems including lipid-based carriers, nanoparticles, inclusion complexes, micelles and conjugates-based encapsulation has the potential to improve both the stability and bioavailability and thus health benefits of quercetin. Each delivery system has its unique advantages and shortcomings, and the specific selection should be based on the application domains. Moreover, the exploration of natural food-grade ingredients as main compositions of delivery systems for quercetin might be required in the future.

Keywords: quercetin, metabolism, delivery systems, chemical stability, health benefits