Skip to main content Accessibility help

Quercetin: Nutritional and beneficial effects in poultry

  • M. SAEED (a1) (a2), M. NAVEED (a3) (a4), M.A. ARAIN (a5) (a6), M. ARIF (a7), M.E. ABD EL-HACK (a8), M. ALAGAWANY (a8), F.A. SIYAL (a9), R.N. SOOMRO (a5) and C. SUN (a5)...


Flavonoids are natural compounds derived from fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants. These compounds have been reported to possess various biological actions including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, growth promoter, antiviral, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antiallergic, anticarcinogenic, antithrombotic and immunomodulator activities in various animals and poultry species. Quercetin is found in various foods such as vegetables, tea, fruits, wine apples and onions and is known to exert positive effects on poultry production and health. Since, quercetin enhances the immune system by stimulating lymphocytes, macrophages and IgY antibody production and improving natural killer cell activity, lymphoid organs (spleen, thymus and bursa) weights as well as activating the cytokines profile, its supplementation can lead to a state of immune alertness and a lower incidence of infections and diseases. In addition, it affects the dendritic cells (DCs) that play an important role in adaptive and innate immunity. Quercetin revokes the ability of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated dendritic cells to induce specific T cell activation and reduce the cytotoxicity in both in vivo and in vitro studies, suggesting quercetin works as an immunosuppressive agent. As immune function is crucial for poultry productivity and prosperity, this review elucidates the potential nutritional effects and health benefits of quercetin on poultry as a replacer for traditional immune boosters and growth promoters. It includes the antiviral activity of quercetin against influenza A virus, rhinovirus (caused common cold), adenovirus (source of necrotic pancreatitis in broilers) and suggests its role in counteracting heavy metal toxicity. However, further studies on molecular basis are required to understand mode of action, beneficial applications as a natural feed additive, growth promoter and immune enhancer, beside the side effects of this compound in poultry.


Corresponding author


Hide All
ABAZA, I.M., SHEHETA, M.A., SHOEB, M.S. and HASSAN, I.I. (2008) Evaluation of some natural feed additives in growing chicks’ diets. International Journal of Poultry Science 7: 872-879.
ADER, P., WESSMANN, A. and WOLFFRAM, S. (2000) Bioavailability and metabolism of the flavonol quercetin in the pig. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 28: 1056-1067.
ADES, T.B. (2009) Quercetin. American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (2nd ed.). American Cancer Society. ISBN 9780944235713.
ALAGAWANY, M., ASHOUR, E.A. and REDA, F.M. (2016) Effect of dietary supplementation of garlic (Allium sativum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) on growth performance, carcass traits, blood profile and oxidative status in growing rabbits. Annals of Animal Science 16: 489-505.
ALRAWAIQ, N.S. and ABDULLAH, A.A. (2014) Review of flavonoid quercetin: metabolism, bioactivity and antioxidant properties. International Journal of Pharm Tech Research 6: 933-941.
ANONYMOUS (2014) USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods—Released and slightly revised in May 2014.
BENTZ, A.B. (2009) A review of quercetin: chemistry, antioxidant properties, and bioavailability. Journal of Young Investigators 6: 391-415.
BHAGWAT, S., HAYTOWITS, D.B. and HOLDEN, J.M. (2011) USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Release 3; U.S. Department of Agriculture: Beltsville, MD, USA.
CASTANON, J.I.R. (2007) History of the use of antibiotic as growth promoters in European poultry feeds. Poultry Science 86: 2466-2471.
CHIRUMBOLO, S. (2010) The role of quercetin, flavonols and flavones in modulating inflammatory cell function. Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets 9: 263-285.
CHOI, H.J., SONG, J.H., PARK, K.S. and KWON, D.H. (2009) Inhibitory effects of quercetin 3-rhamnoside on influenza A virus replication. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 37: 329-333.
COMALADA, M., BALLESTER, I., BAILON, E., XAUS, J., GALVEZ, J., DE MEDINA, F.S. and ZARZUELO, A. (2006) Inhibition of pro-inflammatory markers in primary bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages by naturally occurring flavonoids: analysis of the structure-activity relationship. Biochemical Pharmacology 72: 1010-1021.
CRESPY, V., MORAND, C. and MANACH, C. (1999) Part of quercetin absorbed in the small intestine is conjugated and further secreted in the intestinal l: Umen. American Journal of Physiology 277: G120-G126.
DAY, A.J., BAO, Y., MORGAN, M.R. and WILLIAMSON, G. (2000) Conjugation position of quercetin glucuronides and effect on biological activity. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 29: 1234-1243.
DHAMA, K., LATHEEF, S.K., MANI, S., ABDUL SAMAD, H., KARTHIK, K., TIWARI, R., KHAN, R.U., ALAGAWANY, M., FARAG, M.R., ALAM, G.M., LAUDADIO, V. and TUFARELLI, V. (2015) Multiple beneficial applications and modes of action of herbs in poultry health and production. A Review. International Journal of Pharmacology 11: 152-176.
EXON, J.H., MAGNUSON, B.A., SOUTH, E.H. and HENDRIX, K. (1998) Dietary quercetin, immune functions and colonic carcinogenesis in rats. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 20: 173-190.
FELLENBERG, M.A. and SPEISKY, H. (2006) Antioxidants: their effects on broiler oxidative stress and its meat oxidative stability. World's Poultry Science Journal 62: 53-70.
GANESAN, S., FARIS, A.N., COMSTOCK, A.T., WANG, Q., NANUA, S., HERSHENSON, M.B. and SAJJAN, U.S. (2012) Quercetin inhibits rhinovirus replication in vitro and in vivo . Antiviral Research 94: 258-271.
GOLIOMYTIS, M., ORFANOU, H., PETROU, E., CHARISMIADOU, M.A., SIMITZIS, P.E. and DELIGEORGIS, S.G. (2014) Effect of hesperidin dietary supplementation on hen performance, egg quality and yolk oxidative stability. British Poultry Science 55: 98-104.
HAGER-THEODORIDES, A.L., GOLIOMYTIS, M., DELIS, S. and DELIGEORGIS, S. (2014) Effects of dietary supplementation with quercetin on broiler immunological characteristics. Animal Feed Science and Technology 198: 224-230.
HODEK, P., TREFIL, P. and STIBOROVA, M. (2002) Flavonoids-potent and versatile biologically active compounds interacting with cytochromes P450. Chemical-Biological Interactions 139: 1-21
HUANG, R.Y., YU, Y.L., CHENG, W.C., OUYANG, C.N., FU, E. and CHU, C.L. (2010) Immunosuppressive effect of quercetin on dendritic cell activation and function. Journal of Immunology 184: 6815-6821.
IQBAL, M., CAWTHON, D., BEERS, K., WIDEMAN, R.F. (Jr) and BOTTJE, W.G. (2002) Antioxidant enzyme activities and mitochondrial fatty acids in pulmonary hypertension syndrome (PHS) in broilers. Poultry Science 81: 252-260.
KAMBOH, A.A. and ZHU, W.Y. (2014) Individual and combined effects of genistein and hesperidin on immunity and intestinal morphometry in lipopolysacharide-challenged broiler chickens. Poultry Science 93: 1-9.
KAMBOH, A.A. and ZHU, W.Y. (2013) Effect of increasing levels of bioflavonoids in broiler feed on plasmaanti-oxidative potential, lipid metabolites and fatty acid composition of meat. Poultry Science 92: 454-461.
KIM, A.R., CHO, J.Y., ZOU, Y., CHOI, J.S. and CHUNG, H.Y. (2005) Flavonoids differentially modulate nitric oxide production pathways in lipopolysaccharideactivated RAW264.7 cells. Archives of Pharmacological Research 28: 297-304.
KIM, D.H., KIM, S.Y., PARK, S.Y. and HAN, M.J. (1999) Metabolism of quercetin by human intestinal bacteria and its relation to some biological activities. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 22: 749-751.
KIM, D.W., HONG, E.C., KIM, J.H., BANG, H.T., CHOI, J.Y., JI, S.Y., LEE, W.S. and KIM, S.H. (2015) Effects of dietary quercetin on growth performance, blood biochemical parameter, immunoglobulin and blood antioxidant activity in broiler chicks. Korean Journal of Poultry Science 42: 33-40.
KOLI, R., ERLUND, I., JULA, A., MARNIEMI, J., MATTILA, P. and ALFTHAN, G. (2010) Bioavailability of various polyphenols from a diet containing moderate amounts of berries. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 58: 3927-3932.
KONRAD, M., NIEMAN, D.C., HENSON, D.A., KENNERLY, K.M., JIN, F. and WALLNER-LIEBMANN, S.J. (2011) The Acute Effect of Ingesting a Quercetin-Based Supplement on Exercise-Induced Inflammation and Immune Changes in Runners. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 21: 338-346.
KORVER, D. (2012) Implications of changing immune function through nutrition in poultry. Animal Feed Science and Technology 173: 54-64.
KUMAZAWA, Y., KAWAGUCHI, K. and TAKIMOTO, H. (2006) Immunomodulating effects of flavonoids on acute and chronic inflammatory responses caused by tumornecrosis factor alpha. Current Pharmaceutical Design 12: 4271-4279.
LARSON, A.J. SYMONS, J.D. and JALILI, T. (2012) Therapeutic potential of quercetin to decrease blood pressure: review of efficacy and mechanisms. Advances in Nutrition 3:39-46.
LEE, C.K., PARK, K.K., HWANG, J.K., LEE, S.K. and CHUNG, W.Y. (2007) The extract of Prunus persica flesh (PPFE) attenuates chemotherapy-induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Phytotherapy Research 22: 223-227.
LEE, K.H., PARK, E., LEE, H.J., KIM, M.O., CHA, Y.J., KIM, J.M., LEE, H. and SHIN, M.J. (2011) Effects of daily quercetin-rich supplementation on cardiometabolic risks in male smokers. Nutrition Research and Practice 66: 163-171.
LIU, H., ZHANG, L. and LU, S. (2012) Evaluation of antioxidant and immunity activities of quercetin in isoproterenol-treated rats. Molecules 17: 4281-4291.
LIU, H.N., LIU, Y., HU, L.L., SUO, Y.L., ZHANG, L., JIN, F., FENG, X.A., TENG, N. and LI, Y. (2013) Effects of dietary supplementation of quercetin on performance, egg quality, cecal microflora populations, and antioxidant status in laying hens. Poultry Science 93:347-353.
MALESER, D. and KUNTIC, V. (2007) Investigation of metal-flavonoid chelates and the determination of flavonoids via metal-flavonoid complexing reactions. Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society 72: 921-939.
MANACH, C., SCALBERT, A., MORAND, C., REMESY, C. and JIMENEZ, L. (2004) Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79: 727-747.
MANACH, C., TEXIER, O., MORAND, C., CRESPY, V., RÉGÉRAT, F., DEMIGNÉ, C. and RÉMÉSY, C. (1999) Comparison of the bioavailability of quercetin and catechin in rats. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 27: 1259-1266.
MIN, Y.D., CHOI, C.H., BARK, H., SON, H.Y., PARK, H.H., LEE, S., PARK, J.W., PARK, E.K., SHIN, H.I. and KIM, S.H. (2007) Quercetin inhibits expression of inflammatory cytokines through attenuation of NF-kB and p38 MAPK in HMC-1 human mast cell line. Inflammation Research 56: 210-215.
MOREIRA, M.R., KANASHIRO, A., KABEYA, L.M., POLIZELLO, A.C., AZZOLINI, A.E., CURTI, C., OLIVEIRA, C.A., T-DO AMARAL, A. and LUCISANO-VALIM, Y.M. (2007) Neutrophil effector functions triggered by Fc-g and/or complement receptors are dependent on B-ring hydroxylation pattern and physicochemical properties of flavonols. Life Science 81: 317-326.
NISHIMURO, H., OHNISHI, H., SATO, M., OHNISHI-KAMEYAMA, M., MATSUNAGA, I., NAITO, S., IPPOUSHI, K., OIKE, H., NAGATA, T. and AKASAKA, H. (2015) Estimated daily intake and seasonal food sources of quercetin in Japan. Nutrients 7: 2345-2358.
ORSOLIC, N., KNEZEVIC, A.H., SVER, L., TERZIC, S. and BASIC, I. (2004) Immunomodulatory and antimetastatic action of propolis and related polyphenolic compounds. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 94: 307-315.
PETRUS, K., SCHWARTZ, H. and SONTAG, G. (2011) Analysis of flavonoids in honey by HPLC coupled with coulometric electrode array detection and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 400: 2555-2563.
PIETTA, P.G. (2000) Flavonoids as antioxidants. Journal of Natural Product 63: 1035-1042.
PROCHÁZKOVÁ, D., BOUŠOVÁ, I. and WILHELMOVÁ, N. (1999) Antioxidant and prooxidant properties of quercetin, myricetin, and kaempferol in 25 edible berries. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 47: 2274-2279.
REN-YEONG, H., YU, Y.L., CHENG, W.C., YANG, C.N.O., FU, E., HUANG, C.R.Y., YU, Y.L., CHENG, W.C., YANG, C.N.O., FU, E. and CHU, C.L. (2010) Immunosuppressive Effect of Quercetin on Dendritic Cell Activation and Function. The Journal of Immunology 184: 6815-6821.
RUPASINGHE, H.P.V., RONALDS, C.M., RATHGEBER, B. and ROBINSON, R.A. (2010) Absorption and tissue distribution of dietary quercetin and quercetin glycosides of apple skin in broiler chickens. Journal of Science Food and Agriculture 90: 1172-1178.
SAMPSON, L., RIMM, E., HOLLMAN, P.C., DE VRIES, J.H. and KATAN, M.B. (2002) Flavonol and flavone intakes in US health professionals. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 102: 1414-1420.
SERAFINI, M., PELUSO, I. and RAGUZZINI, A. (2010) Session 1: antioxidants and the immune system. Flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 69: 273-278.
SMITH, C., LOMBARD, K.A., PEFFLEY, E.B. and LIU, W. (2003) Genetic analysis of quercetin in onion (Allium cepa L.) Lady Raider. Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources 16: 24-28.
SOHAIB, M., BUTT, M.S., ANJUM, F.M., KHAN, M.I. and SHAHID, M. (2016) Augmentation of oxidative stability, descriptive Sensory attributes and quality of meat nuggets from broilers by dietary quercetin and Alpha-tocopherol regimens. Journal of food processing and preservation 40 (3): 373-385.
SOMERSET, S.M. and JOHANNOT, L. (2008) Dietary flavonoid sources in Australian adults. Nutrition and Cancer 60: 442-449.
TSUJI, M., YAMAMOTO, H., SATO, T., MIZUHA, Y., KAWAI, Y., TAKETANI, Y., KATO, S., TERAO, J., INAKUMA, T. and TAKEDA, E. (2009) Dietary quercetin inhibits bone loss without effect on the uterus in ovariectomized mice. Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism 27: 673-681.
WICZKOWSKI, W., ROMASZKO, J., BUCINSKI, A., SZAWARA-NOWAK, D., HONKE, J., ZIELINSKI, H. and PISKULA, M.K. (2008) Quercetin from shallots (Allium cepa L. var. aggregatum) is more bioavailable than its glucosides. Journal of Nutrition 138: 885-888.
YOUDIM, K.A., QAISER, M.Z. and BEGLEY, D.J. (2004) Flavonoid permeability across an in situ model of the blood-brain barrier. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 36: 592-604.
YU, E.S., MIN, H.J., AN, S.Y., WON, H.Y., HONG, J.H. and HWANG, E.S. (2008) Regulatory mechanisms of IL-2 and IFNg suppression by quercetin in T helper cells. Biochemistry Pharmacology 76: 70-78.


Quercetin: Nutritional and beneficial effects in poultry

  • M. SAEED (a1) (a2), M. NAVEED (a3) (a4), M.A. ARAIN (a5) (a6), M. ARIF (a7), M.E. ABD EL-HACK (a8), M. ALAGAWANY (a8), F.A. SIYAL (a9), R.N. SOOMRO (a5) and C. SUN (a5)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed