The Therapeutic Effects and Mechanisms of Quercetin on Metabolic Diseases: Pharmacological Data and Clinical Evidence

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 Jun 23;2021:6678662. doi: 10.1155/2021/6678662. eCollection 2021.


Metabolic diseases have become major public health issues worldwide. Searching for effective drugs for treating metabolic diseases from natural compounds has attracted increasing attention. Quercetin, an important natural flavonoid, is extensively present in fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Due to its potentially beneficial effects on human health, quercetin has become the focus of medicinal attention. In this review, we provide a timely and comprehensive summary of the pharmacological advances and clinical data of quercetin in the treatment of three metabolic diseases, including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Accumulating evidences obtained from animal experiments prove that quercetin has beneficial effects on these three diseases. It can promote insulin secretion, improve insulin resistance, lower blood lipid levels, inhibit inflammation and oxidative stress, alleviate hepatic lipid accumulation, and regulate gut microbiota disorders in animal models. However, human clinical studies on the effects of quercetin in diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and NAFLD remain scarce. More clinical trials with larger sample sizes and longer trial durations are needed to verify its true effectiveness in human subjects. Moreover, another important issue that needs to be resolved in future research is to improve the bioavailability of quercetin. This review may provide valuable information for the basic research, drug development, and clinical application of quercetin in the treatment of metabolic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Quercetin