This study tested the acute anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating influence of a quercetin-based supplement consumed by endurance athletes 15 min before an intense 2-hr run. In this randomized, crossover study, 20 runners (11 men, 9 women, age 38.4 ± 2.1 yr) completed two 2-hr treadmill runs at 70% VO2max (3 wk apart). Subjects ingested either 4 quercetin-based chews (Q-chew) or placebo chews (PL) 15 min before the runs. The 4 Q-chews provided 1,000 mg quercetin, 120 mg epigallocatechin 3-gallate, 400 mg isoquercetin, 400 mg each eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, 1,000 mg vitamin C, and 40 mg niacinamide. Subjects provided blood samples 30 min before, immediately after, and 1 hr postexercise and were analyzed for plasma quercetin, total blood leukocytes (WBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), 9 cytokines (IL-6, TNFα, GM-CSF, IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-8, IL-10, and IL-12p70), granulocyte (GR) and monocyte (MO) phagocytosis (PHAG), and oxidative-burst activity (OBA). Plasma quercetin increased from 80.0 ± 26.0 μg/L to 6,337 ± 414 μg/L immediately postexercise and 4,324 ± 310 μg/L 1 hr postexercise after ingestion of Q-chews, compared with no change in PL (p < .001). Exercise caused significant increases in, CRP, GM-CSF, IL-10, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, GR-PHAG, and MO-PHAG and decreases in GR-OBA and MO-OBA, but no differences in the pattern of change were measured between Q-chew and PL trials. Acute ingestion of Q-chews 15 min before heavy exertion caused a strong increase in plasma quercetin levels but did not counter postexercise inflammation or immune changes relative to placebo.
Konrad and Wallner-Liebmann are with the Center for Molecular Medicine, Graz Medical University, Graz, Austria. Nieman, Henson, Kennerly, and Jin are with the Dept. of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Kannapolis, NC.