Quercetin vs Hydroxychloroquine: What's the Difference?

Hydroxychloroquine is among the handful of COVID-19 treatments that are being studied as potential candidates that might influence the outcome in the management of COVID-19. According to a real time meta-analysis of more than 200 studies, early treatment is most successful.

Hydroxychloroquine, Quercetin and EGCG (EpiGalloCatechin Gallate) are all zinc ionophores. Meaning they all transport zinc into the cells. 

We will dive deeper into the science for each of them.

Quercetin and COVID-19

Quercetin and zinc are part of the FLCCC and Zelenko protocols for the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19. As early as 2003, Quercetin was found to provide broad-spectrum protection against SARS coronavirus in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic that broke out across 26 countries. 

Quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore (PubMed 2014), the same mechanism of action that hydroxychloroquine has via helping zinc pass the cell wall where it might halt viral replication.

This zinc ionophore activity of quercetin facilitates the transport of zinc across the cell membrane. It is known that zinc will slow down the replication of coronavirus through inhibition of enzyme RNA polymerase (PubMed 2010). The COVID-19 is an RNA (RiboNucleicAcid) virus and requires the RNA polymerase to replicate. Do take note that the study publication was a 2010 publication and is referring to a different coronavirus as compared to the latest coronavirus (COVID-19); though both are from the same family of coronaviruses.

A review published in The Sage Journal (Dec 2020), summarizes the antiviral significance of quercetin and proposes a possible strategy for the effective utilization of natural polyphenols in our daily diet for the prevention of viral infection.

An animal study published in the Nature (Aug 2012), concluded that quercetin has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic (anti-scarring) properties. Another study (JCI May 2012) on rutin (quercetin molecule bound to a sugar molecule called rutinose), commonly found in fruits and vegetables and sold over the counter as a dietary supplement, has been shown to inhibit the formation of blood clots in an animal model of thrombosis.

As of July 2022, there have been 9 published studies of quercetin against COVID-19. For the list of studies, check out c19quercetin.com.

Quercetin, Zinc and Vitamin C

Incidentally, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the bioflavonoid quercetin (originally labeled vitamin P) were both discovered by the same scientist — Nobel prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi. Quercetin and vitamin C also act as an antiviral drug, effectively inactivating viruses. 

There is evidence that vitamin C and quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immuno-modulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy.

Quercetin is also part of the FLCCC I-Prevent and I-Care protocols for COVID-19. For updated prevention protocol and treatment protocol (COVID-19 positive), please check out FLCCC's I-PREVENT and I-CARE protocols.
Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. In this study (PubMed), Bromelain also has anti-viral property against COVID-19 virus and anti-clotting property, and therefore may be useful against COVID-19.

Caution: Quercetin has one moderate drug interaction with warfarin. Do not take quercetin without medical advice if you are using warfarin.

Quercetin

Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

Historically, hydroxychloroquine was discovered during efforts to synthesize alternatives to quinine as anti-malarials. Is quinine similar to hydroxychloroquine? Hydroxychloroquine and quinine are both anti-malarial drugs. However, hydroxychloroquine is not the same as quinine as hydroxychloroquine is a synthetic drug while quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark. 

Quinine, was first recognized as a potent antimalarial agent hundreds of years ago. Since then, the beneficial effects of quinine and its more advanced synthetic forms, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, have been increasingly recognized in a myriad of other diseases in addition to malaria.

Is quercetin same as quinine? No. Quercetin is a phytonutrient whereas quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark and was used as an antimalarial agent. However, both quercetin and quinine are known to have zinc ionophore properties i.e. they transport zinc into the cells. 

Hydroxychloroquine, developed in the 1950s from chloroquine, an old anti-malarial drug, is registered in around 60 countries under trade names such as Plaquenil, Quensyl and Plaquinol.
 
Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of Chloroquine is a widely used medication by people with lupus or arthritis. 

Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is not effective when used very late with high dosages over a long period (RECOVERY/SOLIDARITY), effectiveness improves with earlier usage and improved dosing. Early treatment consistently shows positive effects. Negative evaluations typically ignore treatment time, often focusing on a subset of late stage studies.

As of July 2022 there have been more than 30 studies of Hydroxychloroquine for early treatment with an overall average improvement of 64% as compared to the control groups.

Here’s a chart from c19early.com that shows that hydroxychloroquine performs better than ivermectin when given as early treatment in terms of risk reduction of dying from COVID-19:


The overall improvement for hydroxychloroquine is better than ivermectin (for early treatment); 72 % vs 43 % in terms of death rate. Importantly, hydroxychloroquine needs to be given 'early'.

The latest FLCCC I-CARE protocol has also incorporated hydroxychloroquine as part of the treatment protocol.

The evidence tracking on Hydroxychloroquine versus COVID-19 is available at c19hcq.com (constantly updated).

Do you need a prescription for hydroxychloroquine?

Yes, hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug and you do need it to be prescribed to you by a doctor.

Related: Find a Doctor who will prescribe Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine vs Quercetin

Hydroxychloroquine and Quercetin are both zinc ionophores i.e. they transport zinc into the cells. 

However, quercetin is less potent than HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) as a zinc transporter, and it does not reach high concentrations in lung cells that HCQ does. Quercetin may help reduce risk of viral illness if you are basically healthy. But it is not potent enough to replace HCQ for treatment of COVID once you have symptoms, and it does not adequately get into lung tissue.

Based on the database on C19Early.com (as of July 2022), quercetin performs better than hydroxychloroquine for prevention but hydroxychloroquine is superior in terms of early treatment:
  • Prevention: Quercetin (93%) vs Hydroxychloroquine (32%)
  • Early Treatment: Hydroxychloroquine (63%) vs Quercetin (38%)

Prevention


Early Treatment

That said, if you simply cannot get hydroxychloroquine, quercetin is a viable stand-in. Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. Do not forget to combine it with zinc.

Although hydroxychloroquine is a relatively safe drug, it's still a synthetic chemical that can have side effects. Quercetin and Vitamin D, C, Zinc are nutrients that your body require for optimal health. Nutrients are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness. 

Other alternatives such as Betadine mouthwash and Betadine nasal spray are over the counter products that you could get easily from your nearest pharmacy. Importantly, you need to start the treatment early. There's a big difference in terms of outcome depending on how early your treatment is. 

Discuss with your doctor on the benefit vs risk for each treatment. If you are on multiple medications, be aware of supplement-drug interactions that might enhance the possibilities of adverse effects.

Hydroxychloroquine, Quercetin and FLCCC Protocol

Hydroxychloroquine and quercetin are all part of the latest FLCCC I-PREVENT and I-CARE early treatment protocols.

For updated prevention protocol and treatment protocol (COVID-19 positive), please check out FLCCC's I-PREVENT and I-CARE protocols.


Other Early Treatment Options

For an up-to-date overview of all published studies on early treatment and prevention of COVID-19, we recommend visiting C19Early

Conclusion

While treatments and supplements are important factors that might influence the COVID-19 outcomes, do take note that factors like pre-existing health conditions, especially high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity might elevate the risk. Take steps to control hypertension and blood sugar fluctuations with diabetes, as these conditions are associated with more severe disease if infected. This may also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important because obesity has been associated with an increased risk of requiring intubation or dying among people hospitalized with COVID-19, particularly those under 65 years of age. Risk was 60% greater among those with severe obesity (BMI > 34.9 kg/m2) compared to patients of normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2) (Anderson, Annals Int Med 2020).

Viral infections like the COVID-19 also put added stress on your body, which can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall heart function. That can raise your probability of having a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, make sure your blood pressure is well controlled during this pandemic.

Aside from supplements and preventive treatments, there are other ways that may help improve immune response and to prevent you from catching the coronavirus.
  • Wear protective face mask. This is to protect not only yourself but others.
  • Abundant evidence suggests that eating whole in fruits, vegetables and whole grains—all rich in networks of naturally occurring antioxidants and their helper molecules—provides protection against free radicals.
  • Vaccination
  • Getting Enough Sleep
  • Avoid Sugar, red meat and processed foods.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.
  • Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Regular physical activity (outdoor activities may not be allowed in countries with 'lock-down').
  • Consult your nearest local healthcare provider if you have any doubt.


More COVID-19 related topics > COVID-19


Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of third party sites. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.


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