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What is the Difference Between Rutin & Quercetin?

Rutin and Quercetin are very similar compounds, both in terms of their chemical structure and their beneficial effects in humans. In nature, Rutin and Quercetin are almost always found together, in similar amounts.

However, many people have heard either of Quercetin or of Rutin, and you might be unaware that they’re actually almost exactly the same compound. The key difference is in the chemical structure – Rutin has an added sugar group.

Another difference is that Quercetin has been studied more extensively than Rutin. This is likely because of Quercetin’s better overall absorption spectrum. However, the two compounds have very similar effects in humans.

Food sources of Rutin and Quercetin


Rutin vs. Quercetin: Differences in Chemical Structure and Metabolism.

Chemically, the difference between the two is an added rutinose sugar group on the Rutin compound.[1] This means that Rutin needs to be digested in the stomach before its effects can kick in. This means that Rutin has a different absorption profile to Quercetin – it takes a little longer for the effects to be felt, and the effects last a little longer.

After taking a Rutin supplement, bacteria in the intestines break the bond between the rutinose sugar and the Quercetin compound, releasing ‘pure’ Quercetin. This process does not occur for Quercetin.[2]

Although this has not been studied in humans yet, it is conceivable that the rutinose sugar released by Rutin benefits gut bacteria but supplying them with an energy source (bacteria typically use large amounts of sugar as their energy source).


Rutin and Gut Bacteria

Several studies have found that Rutin is metabolized by bacteria in the gut. In one animal study, rats were fed a diet with a Rutin concentration of 0.4%. Another group of rats was fed the same diet, with an additional probiotic supplement.

The results showed that the group that received the probiotic supplement had significantly improved antioxidant outcomes.[3]

This solidifies the evidence that Rutin is metabolized by gut bacteria, and this is also why we suggest taking probiotic supplements along with Rutin.

However, the same has not been found for Quercetin, which does not appear to be metabolized by gut bacteria.

Rutin is metabolized by gut bacteria

Differences in Effects:

Quercetin has been used far more extensively in scientific research than Rutin. As a result, there is a wider range of known benefits to Quercetin. For example, Quercetin has been studied for its benefits in stress-release, improvements in physical energy, pain relief, and for promoting healthy skin.

Since Rutin hasn’t been studied as much as Quercetin, there is not as much evidence for these benefits. However, since the compounds are identical (once Rutin has been digested by gut bacteria), it is very likely that similar experiments for Rutin would yield the same results.


Summary of Rutin vs. Quercetin

Rutin Quercetin
Found in most fruits and vegetables, especially in buckwheat [4] Found in most fruits and vegetables [5]
Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects [6] [7] [8] Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects [9] [10] [11]
Supports a healthy immune system Supports a healthy immune system
Additional Rutinose sugar group -
Metabolized by gut bacteria [12] Absorbed directly [13]
May help with pain relief May help with pain relief [14]
Not studied. Promotes healthy skin [15]
Not studied. Reduces stress and promotes relaxation [16]
Not studied. Boosts physical energy levels and exercise performance [17]
- Reduces carcinogenesis in rats [18]
Slightly longer duration of effects[19] -


Our Recommendation:

We recommend taking Rutin and Quercetin together to optimize their benefits. Since they have slightly different absorption profiles, taking the two together gives you a ‘full spectrum’ of antioxidant and health-promoting effects, over a longer period of time.

Also, in their natural sources – fruits and vegetables – these two powerful antioxidants are found in similar quantities. It is possible that there are benefits to using the two phytochemicals together, which have not yet been elucidated by scientific studies.

Although it has not been studied yet, it is conceivable that the compounds might interact together in the body to produce an improved spectrum of effects.

Chemical structure Rutin vs Quercetin

Medical Disclaimer

Not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or ailment. Please read and fully understand potential adverse effects before using this product. These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA and are not written by a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before using any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Citations and Supporting Literature:

[1] Rutin. (2018). PubChem, U.S. National Library of Medicine. [online] Available at https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/rutin

[2] Amaretti, A., Raimondi, S., Leonardi, A., Quartieri, A., & Rossi, M. (2015). Hydrolysis of the rutinose-conjugates flavonoids rutin and hesperidin by the gut microbiota and bifidobacteria. Nutrients7(4), 2788-800.

[3] Uskova, M.A., Kravchenko, L.V., Avrenjeva, L.I., Tutelyan, V.A. (2010). Effect of Lactobacillus casei 114001 probiotic on bioactivity of rutin. Bull Exp Biol Med. 149(5):578-82.

[4] Ganeshpurkar, A., & Saluja, A.K. (2016). The Pharmacological Potential of Rutin. Saudi pharmaceutical journal : SPJ : the official publication of the Saudi Pharmaceutical Society25(2), 149-164.

[5] Nishimuro, H., Ohnishi, H., Sato, M., Ohnishi-Kameyama, M., Matsunaga, I., Naito, S., Ippoushi, K., Oike, H., Nagata, T., Akasaka, H., Saitoh, S., Shimamoto, K., … Kobori, M. (2015). Estimated daily intake and seasonal food sources of quercetin in Japan. Nutrients7(4), 2345-58.

[6] Guardia, T., Rotelli, A.E., Juarez, A.O., Pelzer, L.E. (2001). Anti-inflammatory properties of plant flavonoids. Effects of rutin, quercetin and hesperidin on adjuvant arthritis in rat. Farmaco. 56(9):683-7.

[7] Nikfarjam, B.A., Adineh, M., Hajiali, F., & Nassiri-Asl, M. (2017). Treatment with Rutin - A Therapeutic Strategy for Neutrophil-Mediated Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases: - Anti-inflammatory Effects of Rutin on Neutrophils. Journal of pharmacopuncture20(1), 52-56.

[8] Enogieru, A.B., Haylett, W., Hiss, D.C., Bardien, S., & Ekpo, O.E. (2018). Rutin as a Potent Antioxidant: Implications for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2018, 6241017.

[9] Konrad, M., & Nieman, D. (2015). Chapter 10: Evaluation of Quercetin as a Countermeasure to Exercise-Induced Physiological Stress. In M. Lamprecht, Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition.. Boca Raton: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

[10] Zhang, M., Swarts, S.G., Yin, L., Liu, C., Tian, Y., Cao, Y., Swarts, M., Yang, S., Zhang, S.B., Zhang, K., Ju, S., Olek, D.J. Jr, Schwartz, L., Keng, P.C., Howell, R., Zhang, L., Okunieff, P. (2011). Antioxidant properties of quercetin. Adv Exp Med Biol, 701:283-9.

[11] Chen, S., Jiang, H., Wu, X., & Fang, J. (2016). Therapeutic Effects of Quercetin on Inflammation, Obesity, and Type 2 DiabetesMediators of inflammation2016, 9340637.

[12] Braune, A., & Blaut, M. (2016). Bacterial species involved in the conversion of dietary flavonoids in the human gutGut microbes7(3), 216-34.

[13] Spencer, J.P., Kuhnle, G.G., Williams, R.J., & Rice-Evans, C. (2003). Intracellular metabolism and bioactivity of quercetin and its in vivo metabolites. The Biochemical journal372(Pt 1), 173-81.

[14] Azevedo, M.I., Pereira, A.F., Nogueira, R.B., Rolim, F.E., Brito, G.A., Wong, D.V., Lima-Júnior, R.C., de Albuquerque Ribeiro, R., … Vale, M.L. (2013). The antioxidant effects of the flavonoids rutin and quercetin inhibit oxaliplatin-induced chronic painful peripheral neuropathyMolecular pain9, 53.

[15] Harris, Z., Donovan, M. G., Branco, G. M., Limesand, K. H., & Burd, R. (2016). Quercetin as an Emerging Anti-Melanoma Agent: A Four-Focus Area Therapeutic Development StrategyFrontiers in nutrition3, 48.

[16] Samad, N., Saleem, A., Yasmin, F., Shehzad, M.A. (2018). Quercetin protects against stress-induced anxiety- and depression-like behavior and improves memory in male mice. Physiol Res, 67(5):795-808.

[17] Daneshvar, P., Hariri, M., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Darvishi, L., Mashhadi, N. S., & Khosravi-Boroujeni, H. (2013). Effect of eight weeks of quercetin supplementation on exercise performance, muscle damage and body muscle in male badminton playersInternational journal of preventive medicine4(Suppl 1), S53-7.

[18] Dihal, A.A,. de Boer, V.C., van der Woude, H., Tilburgs, C., Bruijntjes, J.P., Alink, G.M., Rietjens, I.M., Woutersen, R.A., Stierum, R.H. (2006). Quercetin, but not its glycosidated conjugate rutin, inhibits azoxymethane-induced colorectal carcinogenesis in F344 rats. J Nutr, 136(11): 2862-7.

Manach, C., Morand, C., Demigné, C., Texier, O., Régérat, F., Rémésy, C. (1997). Bioavailability of rutin and quercetin in rats. FEBS Letters, 409(1): 12-16.