Quercetin is a plant pigment or flavanoid found in onions, apples, berries, grapes, and red wine.
It’s a powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory that boosts your immune system and increases the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in your muscles and brain.
It’s only recently that researchers discovered its power to boost human performance.
A recent study by the University of South Carolina published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that quercetin taken as a daily supplement improves your endurance even if you don’t exercise!(1)
Individuals in the study who took quercetin experienced a 13.2 percent increase in their performance and a 3.9 percent increase in VO2 max.
If you’re a tennis player, cyclist, or competitive athlete, just imagine what a 13 percent increase in performance would do. You’d maybe even become a world champion.
Not that I would recommend this, but just for the sake of making a comparison, let’s say you run in your town’s annual Spring Marathon every year. And last year you finished with a time of 5 hours and 15 minutes.
If you could improve your performance by 13 percent, you would finish the race this year in 4 hours and 34 minutes, shattering your previous best time by about 41 minutes!
“Even a gain of one tenth of 1 percent in performance can be very significant,” says Dr. Don Catlin, president of the group Anti-Doping Research.(2)
“Quercetin, like testosterone, could be considered an illegal performance enhancer if discovered in unnaturally high levels.”
“If the spectacular results are confirmed,” says Catlin, “The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) will find a way to ban the substance.”
Often the difference in a world record time for Olympic swimming or downhill skiing is just a few seconds. Sometimes just a fraction of a second.
Imagine if Lance Armstrong improved his time in the Tour de France by 13 percent. He would have finished the race approximately 12 hours and 46 minutes faster. That’s about half a day quicker!
And, I find this even more surprising: Those in the study also boosted VO2 max by 3.9 percent.
VO2 max is how fast you can burn oxygen for energy, when maximally challenged.
It is equivalent to “human horsepower.”
Your body has only a certain amount of energy it can produce per unit time. It’s limited by the amount of oxygen you can burn per unit time.
VO2 max – or Peak VO2, as I prefer to call it – is the fastest rate that you can burn oxygen when you exercise as hard as you can. Or the maximum energy your body can produce.
Think of it this way, if you can increase your VO2 max, it’s like replacing your body’s V6 engine with a V8! It boosts your power and increases your performance.
Quercetin Isn’t Just for Olympic Athletes
Or maybe you’d just like to have plenty of energy to get through the work day, a weekend with the kids, or a home improvement project.
And there’s more…
Quercetin can help average adults battle fatigue and stress daily. It also reduces susceptibility to the flu.(3)
It protects your brain from oxidative stress which is associated with Alzheimer’s.(4)
And it may lead to prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity.
It also is being looked at for cancer prevention, allergies, and childhood asthma.
I’m so intrigued by this research, I’m looking into putting it in a new energy formula to complement my PACE program.
Other Benefits of Quercetin:
- Boosts energy
- Stops bruising
- Strengthens blood vessels
- Fights viruses
- Helps detox in the liver
- Helps blood sugar levels in diabetics
- Slow the growth of peptic ulcers
- Fight fatigue, depression and anxiety
- Reduce swelling
- Combat chronic prostatitis
The Best Sources of Quercetin
But just how much quercetin do you need?
For general health purposes, I recommend 15 to 40 mg per day.
You should be able to get pretty close to this by eating a few servings a day of the fruits and vegetables that are rich in quercetin. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Citrus Fruit
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Red Grapes
- Red Onions
You can also get rich sources of quercetin in plants of the allium family, including onions, scallions, chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic.
Quercetin is also found in many other vegetables including spinach, celery, potatoes, lettuce, parsley, kale, red cabbage, and green beans.
It’s also found in olive oil, tea, red wine, and even cocoa.
To boost peak performance, you can try increasing to a supplement form of 500 mg capsules twice a day.
1. J.Mark Davis, Catherine J. Carlstedt, et al. Department of Applied Physiology, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 20: 1-13 (2009).
2. Pruzzi, Marc, “The Best Energy Supplement Ever.” Men’sJournal.com 08/11/2009.
3. Davis, J. Mark, Murphy, E.A> McClellan, J.L., Carmichael, M.D., University of South Carolina; Gangemi, J.D., Clemson University, “Quercetin Reduces Susceptibility to influenza infection following stressful exercise,”American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 06/14/2008.
4. Lee, C.Y. PhD., Heo, H.J. “Protective Effects of Quercetin and Vitamin C Against Oxidative Stress-Induced Neurodegeneration,” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 52 (25), pp 7514-7517.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.