One of the hottest ingredients in the market that is rumored to increase performance, Quercetin is gaining in popularity. Many sports nutrition drinks are adding this ingredient to their protein shakes and performance enhancers. What exactly does it do? And is Quercetin really as great as it is said to be?
Quercetin is being called the “Next Big Thing” in the supplementation industry. Many experts are calling a natural form for promoting more energy and enhancing energy outputs. Yes, Quercetin is an effective supplement when it comes to intense training, but before you decide to add it to your supplement stack it is important to understand its role.
What Exactly Is Quercetin?
Quercetin is found naturally in the skin of apples and is a phytochemical. It is a flavonoid that is found not only in apples but also in berries, black tea, red wine and some leafy vegetables. Believed to have powerful antioxidant properties, it has become a controversial topic in bodybuilding circles. Some believe Quercetin has the ability to enhance athletic performance, while others believe it works just like a placebo and offers no concrete improvement.
Quercetin has been proven to be a powerful antioxidant, anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. It is for this reason that it has attained popularity in the bodybuilding circles; after all, most bodybuilders understand the importance of a good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. But the role of Quercetin doesn’t end there – it also is known to inhibit some forms of cancer and has been used as a standalone supplement for cancer patients as well. In the world of bodybuilding, Quercetin finds a special place because it is noted for enhanced performance as well as improved recovery.
What Does Research Say?
In a study conducted at Cambridge University in 2008, researchers discussed that a single or specific antioxidant can never prevent oxidative stress induced damage to muscles. This counters any theory that may claim that Quercetin alone can provide benefits in terms of recovery and performance enhancement.
Research has also warned against over supplementation with antioxidants, as these are also not without side effects. The inflammation in muscles caused by extensive exercising also plays an important role in muscle building and repair. You can call it a natural process, and the inflammation is important to achieve muscle gains. For this reason, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, when taken in excess, can be detrimental to muscle building endeavors.
A study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism did a test of 12 healthy untrained subject’s shows that Quercetin can increase endurance levels. “We study 12 untrained healthy subjects and found they increased their time-to-fatigue in a cycling test by an impressive 13.2%, and saw a 3.9% increase in VO2 max after seven days of Quercetin supplementation, despite no change to their physical activity level. These data suggest that as little as seven days of Quercetin supplementation can increase endurance without exercise training in untrained participants”, stated Dr. Mark Davis, a primary scientist conducting the study.
However, not all findings have been positive, which is the reason Quercetin is surrounded by controversy. Though some studies have found that Quercetin did increase the size and number of mitochondria in rats, the same results were not seen on human subjects. This was the largest, most comprehensive study done on Quercetin and was published in The Journal of Applied Physiology. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of our cells; they generate energy for the cells. Through exercise, the formation of mitochondria can be increased.
However, some studies do state that Quercetin will improve endurance levels, irrespective of whether you do exercises or not. Also, some studies do claim that Quercetin also increases ‘Voluntary Wheel Running Activity’ or ‘Levels of exertion possible before fatigue’ that increases performance while training.
Is Quercetin Worth Your Money?
Quercetin is being marketed largely as a natural form of energy, and we all love things that are ‘Natural’. But before you put hard earned money in to Quercetin for this reason alone, sit and think ‘What exactly does a natural form of energy mean?’ After all, Caffeine is bashed at for being counter-productive and harmful if taken in excess, but it is also a natural form of attaining more energy.
Though one of the marketing gimmicks to promote Quercetin states that it increases immunity, researchers have found that though this ingredient can reduce chances of falling ill, it doesn’t necessarily increase capabilities of the immune system for those who follow a high intensity training routine.
One area that does appear promising is Quercetin’s role in recovery. One study published in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise revealed that Quercetin can successfully reduce the levels of post-exercise inflammation. This is understandable, considering that it is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory abilities. Quercetin supplementation has also been known to result in significantly lower incidences of upper respiratory tract infections, especially in the weeks following heavy exertion. This is a time when athletes are more susceptible to colds and infections.
With so much researches revealing that Quercetin can to some extent help in improved performance and faster recovery, it must be understood that it cannot do so alone. It needs to be combined with other ingredients to derive the maximum benefits.
What Is The Best Way To Add Quercetin To Supplement Stack?
If you want to supplement with Quercetin, using this phytochemical alone will do no wonders for you.
However, when used with other performance enhancers, it can help you achieve your desired goals:
- If you are interested in Quercetin for its antioxidant properties, it may be best to combine it with a blend of Vitamin A, C and E. Together, these 4 can offer you complete advantage of expatiated recovery that only antioxidants can offer in relation to exhaustive workout routines.
- If you want to take Quercetin for its ability to support the immune system, it is best to take it with Glutamine. Together they support the immune system better by reducing illness.
- For better sports nutrition, blend Quercetin with an electrolyte blend for post-workout nutrition to replenish lost minerals from the body and speed up recovery.
To invest your money in Quercetin or not is a question only you can answer. All evidence give mixed signals, which only proves that there is need for more human research on the effects of Quercetin before it can quality to be a proven energy enhancer and recovery promoter in bodybuilding circles.