The dual inhibitory effect of rutin on the coronavirus
If a nasty coronavirus ever runs amok again, supplementing with the quercetin analogue rutin may reduce the chance of you becoming ill. Rutin could make it more difficult for coronaviruses to enter cells, we wrote last week. But rutin may also inhibit the multiplication of the virus after it has entered your cells.
Bruno Rizzuti, affiliated with the University of Calabria, published an in vitro study in Biomedicines in 2021 in which he investigated whether rutin could possibly reduce the risk of infection by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Rizutti already knew that quercetin inhibits the enzyme 3C-like protease in vitro.
3C-like protease is an enzyme whose code is contained within the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2. After the virus has entered the cell, the enzyme causes the cell to produce virus particles. Inhibit 3C-like protease and you automatically slow down the speed at which the virus can multiply in the body.
A problem with using quercetin as a virus inhibitor is that the bioavailability of quercetin is low. The bioavailability of rutin - a compound that is formed when you stick quercetin to rutoside - is considerably larger. So Rizutti wondered whether rutin is also a 3C-like protease inhibitor.
Rutin reduced the activity of 3C-like protease in test tubes. Below you can see how much the activity of this enzyme decreased at which concentration of rutin.
3C-like protease cuts proteins into pieces. To put it far too simply, somewhere between the amino acids Histamine-41 and Cysteine-145, the enzyme contains molecular scissors with which the enzyme makes the cut. And that is precisely where rutin glues itself to the molecule, causing the scissors to no longer work properly.
Rutin is probably the most common polyphenol in our diet. Regular portions of vegetables and fruit, but also in tea, herbs and wine, contain significant amounts of rutin. A diet with relatively many vegetables and fruit provides hundreds of milligrams per day.
In practically every shopping street you will find a vitamin shop that sells supplements with rutin. These products easily contain half a gram of rutin per tablet or capsule.
Biomolecules. 2021 Apr 19;11(4):607.
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