FOR CERTAIN, QUERCETIN

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Diets high in quercetin are linked to lower incidence of heart disease and certain cancers

By Jordana Brown

January 21, 2010

FLEXONLINE.COM

Forget steak and chicken breasts, and put aside your protein powder. We have a new muscle-building food to add to your menu: capers.

Don't like them? OK, then, how about onions? What these two unusual vegetables (not to mention apples, tea, broccoli and citrus fruits) have in common are high levels of a powerful antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin. Scientists already knew that diets high in quercetin are linked to lower incidence of heart disease and certain cancers, but a recent study has shown that quercetin may also lower blood pressure.

The study's authors believe that quercetin lowers blood pressure by blocking the effect of a chemical that constricts blood vessels — meaning that quercetin is possibly functioning as a vasodilator, with a similar effect to (albeit using a different mechanism) our favorite vasodilator, nitric oxide. Ignoring blood pressure for a moment, let's remind ourselves of the benefit of wider blood vessels during workouts; more blood flow means more nutrients and muscle-boosting supplements get into muscle cells and, of course, give you a bigger pump. The fact that it works through a different mechanism means that taking quercetin along with your favorite NO booster before workouts will have an additive effect on blood flow.

DOSAGE To give your NO booster (and your blood vessels) a boost, take about 500 milligrams of quercetin whenever you take your NO-booster supplement (such as arginine). We suggest you take them together in the morning upon waking, about 30-60 minutes before workouts, and later in the day, before a meal.

Reference: R. L. Edwards et al., "Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects," The Journal of Nutrition, 137(11):2405-11, 2007.

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