Q: You’ve written about pistachios helping lower cholesterol, but you did not tell us the daily dose. How many pistachios would I need to eat?

A: The most recent study was a meta-analysis of 34 trials. It revealed that pistachio-enriched diets can lower triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol. Sadly, it did not specify a dose.

An earlier study, however, found that 58 grams (2 ounces) could indeed lower triglycerides (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2010). That works out to about 100 pistachio kernels per day.

Q: My wife recently developed severe knee pain. My sister, who has had similar problems, recommended that my wife start taking pectin in grape juice to reduce the pain. My wife followed the recommendation and started a daily regimen. Soon her knee pain was diminished.

When she spoke with some of her friends, she heard that grape juice could cause dehydration and/or constipation. My wife would like to know if there is something special about the pectin/grape juice combination. Can a different juice be substituted for grape juice to avoid potential side effects?

A: This is the first we have heard that grape juice could contribute to dehydration or constipation. That seems unlikely since juice is mostly water. Generally, fruit juices counter constipation.


Some people worry about the sugar content, especially if they have diabetes. Low-sugar brands might help with that concern.

We first heard about the potential for fruit pectin such as Certo combined with grape juice to ease joint pain almost three decades ago. While not everyone benefits, many people do. Those who would like to know how to mix up this remedy will find detailed instructions and a video in our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource can be found under the Health eGuides tab at PeoplesPharmacy.com. It also offers numerous other nondrug approaches to knee pain, along with a discussion of the pros and cons of arthritis medicines.

Q: I don’t typically get seasonal allergies, but long ago I read that quercetin can be helpful in easing symptoms. I have used it ever since to control the itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing I occasionally experience. It’s been very effective without any side effects.

I gave some to a nephew who suffers from allergies regularly, and he also found it to be helpful. I take two 500 mg capsules when symptoms are annoying, along with 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg citrus bioflavonoids from citrus.

A: We appreciate your testimonial. Other readers have also found quercetin helpful for allergy symptoms. This flavonoid is found in many different plants, including apples, onions, citrus fruits, black tea, berries, capers and red wine. It would be difficult to eat enough capers or drink enough wine to make a difference for allergy symptoms.

Although research on natural approaches for allergies is limited, researchers have found quercetin promising (Complementary Therapies in Medicine, May 17, 2020). Comparative research found that quercetin is more effective than cromolyn (NasalCrom) in stabilizing mast cells and preventing the release of inflammatory compounds called cytokines (PLoS One, March 2012). Research in test tubes and on mice supports the usefulness of quercetin for nasal symptoms associated with seasonal allergies (Medicines, May 12, 2021).