Dr. David Nieman conducted a study in 2010 on the benefits of quercetin in athletes.
Quercetin exerts strong anti-oxidative, anti- inflammatory, anti-pathogenic, and immune regulatory effects in vitro and in animal-based studies. Epidemiologic data indicate reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer in groups self-selecting diets high in quercetin.
Several recent quercetin supplementation studies in human athletes have focused on potential influences as a countermeasure to post-exercise inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction, in improving endurance performance, and in reducing illness rates following periods of physiologic stress. When quercetin supplementation is combined with other polyphenols and food components such as green tea extract, isoquercetin, and fish oil, a substantial reduction in exercise-induced inflammation and oxidative stress occurs in athletes, with chronic augmentation of innate immune function.
Quercetin supplementation (1,000 mg/day for two to three weeks) also reduces illness rates in exercise-stressed athletes. Animal studies support a role for quercetin as an exercise mimetic for mitochondrial biogenesis, and recent data in untrained human subjects indicate modest enhancement in skeletal muscle mitochondrial density and endurance performance. Quercetin has multiple bioactive effects that support athletic endeavor, and research continues to better define optimal dosing regimens and adjuvants that amplify these influences.
Epidemiologic studies support multiple disease prevention benefits for those consuming foods rich in quercetin such as apples, onions, berries, peppers, and dark green vegetables. In vitro and animal studies indicate that quercetin is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and exerts anti-pathogenic and immune regulatory influences. Quercetin supplementation studies in community-dwelling humans do not reflect these positive benefits, but research is ongoing to determine the proper outcome measures, dosing regimen, and adjuvants that may amplify quercetin’s in vivo bioactive effects.
Quercetin supplementation studies in athletes have focused on potential influences on endurance performance, illness rates following periods of physiologic stress, and post-exercise inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction. Results thus far have been negative for quercetin’s countermeasure effects on post-exercise physiologic stress indicators, but supportive for a positive effect of quercetin in reducing illness rates in exercise-stressed athletes, and in improving endurance performance, especially in untrained subjects. However, when quercetin supplementation is combined with other polyphenols and food components such as green tea extract, isoquercetin, and fish oil, a substantial reduction in exercise-induced inflammation and oxidative stress occurs in athletes, with chronic augmentation of innate immune function.
The quercetin-related effects on performance and mitochondrial biogenesis in untrained humans are modest and far below those reported in mice (Davis et al., 2009). Future research should emphasize multiple types of performance measures, longer supplementation periods in humans, and combined ingestion with adjuvants including EGCG, luteolin, tiliroside, and isoquercetin that may augment quercetin’s bioactive effects on mitochondrial biogenesis and post-exercise inflammation and oxidative stress. The potential synergism between initiation of exercise training and quercetin supplementation should be studied to determine if untrained subjects achieve amplified performance outcomes. In general, quercetin’s bioactive effects support athletic endeavor, but additional research is needed to better define the optimal dosing regimen and adjuvants that optimize benefits during heavy training and competition.
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David C. Nieman | Quercetin's Bioactive Effects In Human Athletes | 2010
Appalachian State University and the North Carolina Research Campus, Human Performance Laboratory Boone, NC 28608