Quercetin is found in many plant foods. It belongs to a class of compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have tons of health-supporting properties. This one in particular has widespread health and performance benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, including the ability to increase mitochondrial biogenesis.
What’s mitochondrial biogenesis you ask? Its the increase in number and size of mitochondria, the ‘powerhouses’ of the cells. The mitochondria are where each of our trillions of cells creates energy. More mitochondria = more energy. Cool….
A couple of newer studies looked at how supplementing with quercetin can improve athletic performance, with some neat results:
In the first study, the researchers looked at whether taking it would enhance maximal aerobic capacity and delay fatigue during prolonged exercise (cycling). They found that after 7 days, those subjects taking it had a modest increase in VO2max (3.9% vs. placebo) and a substantial increase (13.2%) in ride time to fatigue.(1)
The second study looked at what would happen to exercise performance and skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis. Again, they found a small, but significant improvement in a 12-minute running time trial, and an increase in the number of mitochondria in their muscles.(2)
So what does all this mean? It means that supplementation can help boost endurance performance! These findings are significant, because really the only way to boost performance is by training; these studies show that using it may help boost performance outside of exercise.
One thing about this supplement though; it’s not well absorbed by the body. If you do decide to use it, make sure it is combined with some type of enzyme – this will help your body absorb it more readily. We have a highly bioavailable form that contains bromelain as well.
Davis JM,Carlstedt CJ, Chen S, et al. The dietary flavonoid quercetin increases VO(2max) and endurance capacity. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Feb;20(1):56-62.
Nieman DC, Williams AS, Shanely RA, et al. Quercetin's influence on exercise performance and muscle mitochondrial biogenesis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Feb;42(2):338-45.