Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Amaranthaceae (family), bitter quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa Willd., quinoa flour, quinoa seed, quinua, quinua flour, quinua seed, sweet quinoa.
Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes Incas for thousands of years. It has recently gained prominence around the world as a "super food" due to its high protein content. Although quinoa is high in protein content, it alone does not have enough protein to replace meat in the Western European diet, due to current cultivation, technological, and processing restrictions. Quinoa is also used by some people as a substitute for wheat, especially those on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or other conditions.
Other than its use as a food, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of quinoa for any indication.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Antioxidant, celiac disease, food uses, hypertriglyceridemia (elevated level of fatty acid compounds in the blood).
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven effective dose for quinoa in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven effective dose for quinoa in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) or its constituents.
Side Effects and Warnings
Quinoa is likely safe when quinoa seeds are used in food amounts, as quinoa has been used as a food for thousands of years. Quinoa is usually washed after harvest and before preparation to remove a natural coating of saponins on the seeds. Available reports of adverse effects related to quinoa are lacking.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Quinoa is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Quinoa may have antioxidant properties. Caution is advised when taking quinoa with other agents that have antioxidant properties.
Quinoa may lower triglyceride concentrations, compared to gluten-free bread and pasta. Caution is advised in patients taking triglyceride-lowering agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Quinoa may have antioxidant properties. Caution is advised when taking quinoa with herbs and supplements that have antioxidant properties.
Quinoa may lower triglyceride concentrations, compared to gluten-free bread and pasta. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that may lower triglycerides.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Berti C, Riso P, Brusamolino A, et al. Effect on appetite control of minor cereal and pseudocereal products. Br J Nutr 2005;94(5):850-858. View Abstract
Berti C, Riso P, Monti LD, et al. In vitro starch digestibility and in vivo glucose response of gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts. Eur J Nutr 2004;43(4):198-204. View Abstract
Cook JD, Reddy MB, Burri J, et al. The influence of different cereal grains on iron absorption from infant cereal foods. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65(4):964-969. View Abstract
Dijkstra DS, Linnemann AR, van Boekel TA. Towards sustainable production of protein-rich foods: appraisal of eight crops for Western Europe. PART II: Analysis of the technological aspects of the production chain. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2003;43(5):481-506. View Abstract
Hurrell RF, Reddy MB, Burri J, et al. An evaluation of EDTA compounds for iron fortification of cereal-based foods. Br J Nutr 2000;84(6):903-910. View Abstract
Inman-Felton AE, Rottmann LH. Should millet, buckwheat, and quinoa be included in a gluten-free diet? J Am Diet.Assoc 1999;99(11):1361. View Abstract
Jung K, Richter J, Kabrodt K, et al. The antioxidative power AP--A new quantitative time dependent (2D) parameter for the determination of the antioxidant capacity and reactivity of different plants. Spectrochim.Acta A Mol.Biomol.Spectrosc. 3-13-2006;63(4):846-850. View Abstract
Lee P. Should millet, buckwheat, and quinoa be included in a gluten-free diet? J Am Diet.Assoc 1999;99(11):1361. View Abstract
Linnemann AR, Dijkstra DS. Toward sustainable production of protein-rich foods: appraisal of eight crops for Western Europe. Part I. Analysis of the primary links of the production chain. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2002;42(4):377-401. View Abstract
Ogungbenle HN. Nutritional evaluation and functional properties of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) flour. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2003;54(2):153-158. View Abstract
Ruales J, de Grijalva Y, Lopez-Jaramillo P, et al. The nutritional quality of an infant food from quinoa and its effect on the plasma level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in undernourished children. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2002;53(2):143-154. View Abstract
Ruales J, Nair BM. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd) an important Andean food crop. Arch Latinoam.Nutr 1992;42(3):232-241. View Abstract
Schollenberger M, Muller HM, Rufle M, et al. Survey of Fusarium toxins in foodstuffs of plant origin marketed in Germany. Int J Food Microbiol. 1-1-2005;97(3):317-326. View Abstract
Thompson T. Case problem: questions regarding the acceptability of buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and oats from a patient with celiac disease. J Am Diet.Assoc 2001;101(5):586-587. View Abstract
Valencia S, Svanberg U, Sandberg AS, et al. Processing of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd): effects on in vitro iron availability and phytate hydrolysis. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1999;50(3):203-211. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017