Quercetin: Myths v. Facts

MYTH: No studies have proven that quercetin can improve athletic performance.

FACT: In recent years, there have been several credible clinical studies that have shown that athletes, as well as untrained individuals, can experience increased endurance by consuming quercetin.

  • An independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study from the University of South Carolina showed that when 12 healthy, active (but not highly trained) men and women consumed 500 mg of quercetin (QU995™) in an enriched drink mix twice daily for 7 days, they experienced a 13.2 percent increase in ride time to fatigue (based on bicycle endurance capacity) and a 3.9 percent increase in VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption).
  • An independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study by researchers at Pepperdine University on the effect of FRS (a liquid antioxidant formula containing quercetin) on cycling performance in eleven elite cyclists showed a 3.1% improvement in time to complete a simulated 30km mountainous time trial when subjects consumed FRS for a 3 week period.
  • An independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study from Appalachian State University showed that when untrained males consumed 1000 mg of quercetin each day for two weeks they experienced a statistically significant improvement of 2.9% in 12-minute treadmill time trial performance.

MYTH: If you want to achieve the optimal benefits from quercetin, you can simply eat quercetin-rich fruits and vegetables.

FACT: While there are many benefits to consuming quercetin-rich foods, you cannot achieve the endurance benefits such as those found in the University of South Carolina, Pepperdine, and Appalachian State University studies through food and diet alone. For example, in the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University studies, participants consumed 500 mg of quercetin twice a day. A large red apple contains about 10 mg of quercetin, so you’d have to eat 100 apples a day to get the same amount of quercetin.

MYTH: Quercetin does not have benefits for general health.

FACT: Quercetin has long been recognized for its antioxidant benefits, and is now being widely studied for other effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and other health benefits. There are currently several clinical trials underway – including one at the University of South Carolina regarding quercetin’s effect on cancer-related fatigue – to learn more about the effects of quercetin on health.

MYTH: Quercetin is not a natural substance.

FACT: Quercetin is an antioxidant found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Quercetin is safe for human consumption.

MYTH: Quercetin is no different than caffeine or sugar in terms of producing energy.

FACT: Quercetin has a number of different mechanisms of action that differentiate it from sugar and caffeine. Emerging scientific research suggests that one action of quercetin is that it mimics the effects of exercise by enhancing the production of the body's mitochondria, the energy-producing units in cells.


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