Article Index

For immune system function


Bromelain has digestant activity (it is an enzyme found in pineapple) and has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-diarrheal, anti-carcinogenic and wound-healing properties. 

"The mechanism of the putative antiinflammatory activity is not well understood. It may be accounted for, in part, by activation of plasmin production from plasminogen and reduction of kinin, via inhibition of the conversion of kininogen to kinin." (Kinin causes pain in inflammation, amongst other activities.)

Bromelain also increases T-cell activation, and enhances antigen-independent binding to monocytes. It has been shown to help in chronic bronchitis and chronic sinusitis because it also thins mucous.

Contraindications: Avoid if allergic to pineapple.

Precautions: May cause blood-thinning activity in some people.    

Adverse Reactions: Sometimes minor GI symptoms.

Interactions: Increases serum levels of amoxicillin and tetracycline. May enhance anticoagulant activity of warfarin and aspirin.
Dosage: 500-2000 GDUs taken 1-3 times a day.


"Magnesium is an essential mineral in human nutrition with a wide range of biological functions. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions. It is necessary for every major biological process, including production of cellular energy and the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. It is also important for the electrical stability of cells, the maintenance of membrane integrity, muscle contraction, nerve conduction and the regulation of vascular tone, among other things."

Not mentioned by the PDR is the fact that many of those 300 metabolic reactions involve the functioning of the immune system. An activated immune system uses magnesium and zinc at rapid rates. It has been shown that ME/CFS patients in particular have lower levels of intracellular magnesium than healthy controls.

The typical magnesium test only measures serum levels of magnesium. Serum levels of magnesium can be normal but intracellular levels can be low at the same time.

Magnesium deficiency is an important cause of low potassium. There is evidence that magnesium has anti-osteoporotic activity. It definitely has anti-arrhythmic activity.

Magnesium may have anti-hypertensive, glucose-regulatory and bronchodilatory activity and possible anti-migraine activity.

"Magnesium has been used with some success in a few studies to promote bronchodilation and improve lung function in some asthmatic patients."

Magnesium can help relieve some types of pain. There is evidence it may reduce the occurrence of kidney stones.

Contraindications: Contraindicated in kidney failure and in those with certain types of heart problems.

Precautions: Those with myasthenia gravis should avoid the use of magnesium supplements.

Adverse reactions: Usually none in doses of 350 mg a day or less.

However, since magnesium is an electrolyte which influences heartbeat and potassium levels (which also affect heartbeat), it is wise to only supplement with magnesium or potassium with regular checks by a doctor of serum blood levels of both minerals.

Interactions: Concomitant intake of bisphosphonate, a quinolone or a tetracycline and magnesium may decrease the absorption of the other drug.

Concomitant intake of more than 2 grams of calcium with magnesium will decrease the absorption of magnesium.

Concomitant intake of inositol hexaphosphate and magnesium may depress absorption of magnesium.

Concomitant intake of magnesium and iron or manganese may decrease the absorption of the other mineral.

Concomitant intake of phosphate and magnesium may decrease the absorption of both.

Dosage: 100 to 300 mg a day.


Quercetin is a flavonoid found in onions, red wine, green tea and St. John's wort. It is a phenolic antioxidant and has been shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation.

There is some evidence quercetin also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, immunomodulatory, gastroprotective and anti-allergy activity as well as activity preventing the secondary complications of diabetes.

Quercetin is one of several flavonoids that have effects on mast cells and basophils, which are histamine-releasing cells involved in allergy. It "can help prevent the release of histamine and other mediators of allergic reactions, possibly by stabilizing cell membranes so they are less reactive to allergens. Quercetin also exhibits antiinflammatory properties, inhibiting formation of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes."

There is some evidence that coupled with vitamin C it is an antiviral for picornaviruses (such as Coxsackie, ECHO and rhinoviruses.).

Contraindications: None known.

Precautions: None known.

Adverse reactions: Oral quercetin is well-tolerated.

Interactions: It can be a competitive inhibitor to quinolone antibiotics. It should not be taken with cisplatin.

Dosage: 200-1200 mg a day. It is best absorbed when taken with Bromelain or papain.