Possible Insight

Supplementation Report: Quercetin

with 3 comments

I’ve been taking quercetin for a few months now and thought I’d report on my experience. As you can see from the Wikipedia link, quercetin is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.  This is not why I’m taking it.

Rather, I had a record number of colds this season.  4 major ones from Thanksgiving to mid-Feb.  I have been training unusually hard for the last year and an increased incidence of upper respiratory infections (URIs) is a known problem for endurance athletes. A little research turned up this article where quercetin reduced the incidence of URIs in marathoners.

So I ordered a couple bottles of this and started taking 2 capsules twice daily. Note that this product also has bromelain in it, an anti-inflammatory added to quercetin when treating for allergic rhinitis.  Seemed like that could be part of my problem… in for a penny in for a pound.

I noticed four potential effects.

  • I stopped getting colds. Of course, this could be simply timing of the cold season.
  • My cardiovascular fitness went up. Over two and a half months, my output at a given heart rate went up by 5%. My heart rate a given output went down 7-8 bpm. Of course, this could simply be the result of not having a cold. The evidence for quercetin improving athletic performance is mostly negative.
  • I appeared to have gained some muscle mass. From the combination of my weight going up and my waist measurement going down, I estimate I gained about 3lbs of muscle mass.  Of course, this could be explained by the fact that I was able to start doing kettlebells seriously again because a shoulder injury has mostly healed.
  • I seemed to require a little less ibuprofen to keep minor injury pain in check. Quercetin may have some anti-inflammatory effect. Of course, bromelain inhibits CYP2C9 activity in the liver which may slow down ibuprofen metabolism. So the serum level of ibuprofen may have been the same at the lower dosage due to inhibition rather than direct anti-inflammatory effect.

Your mileage may vary.


Written by Kevin

April 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Health

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3 Responses

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  1. You’re getting old Kevin (temporarily of course,) your recovery abilities aren’t what they used to be. Nice review.


    April 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

  2. And it could all be placebo, which works even if you suspect that it’s the placebo effect that’s doing it. Not that it matters, as long as there are no serious side effects 🙂


    April 19, 2009 at 10:40 am

  3. Kevin,

    I’ve been taking quercetin for about a year and cannot report any definitive effects. In fact, I had the worst cold (respiratory flu?) I’ve had in 2 decades this year.

    I’ve been taking the FRS with quercetin products (an excellent business idea with Lance Armstrong pitching the product).

    I started taking the FRS products after my exercise physiology professor (taking classes at age 50 is fun) recommended quercetin. The only study I had read at the time was about how it increased VO2Max for cyclists. I read the study abstract (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&cmd=DetailsSearch&term=quercetin+vo2max&log$=activity) and didn’t seem all that compelling. As a competitive athlete, though, I was looking for every legal advantage and, hey, maybe the quercetin would serve as a great antioxidant. Really, though, I think I have more expensive urine.

    There are various studies on quercetin. E.g., in ashmatic mice.



    April 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm

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