A new study has shown that a powerful antioxidant commonly found in the skin of red apples, red onions, berries and grapes could increase endurance capacity without regular exercise training.
Researchers from University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health have revealed that fatigue-fighting and health properties of quercetin would have significant implications not only for athletes but also for average adults who battle fatigue and stress daily.
"The natural, biological properties of quercetin that include powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as the ability to boost the immune system and increase mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in muscle and brain is great news for those who often think that they're too tired to exercise," said Dr. Mark Davis, the study's lead author and a professor of exercise science.
"While there's no magic pill to make people get up and move, or to take the place of regular exercise, quercetin may be important in relieving the fatigue that keeps them sedentary and in providing some of the benefits of exercise," he added.
During the study, the researchers recruited 12 participants, who were randomly assigned to one of two treatments.
Half were given 500 milligrams of quercetin twice a day in Tang for seven days. The other subjects drank Tang with placebos.
They also tested their additional VO2max (maximal oxygen capacity), one of the most important measures of fitness.
The findings revealed that participants who received quercetin had a 13.2 percent increase in endurance and a 3.9 percent increase in VO2max.
"These were statistically significant effects that indicate an important improvement in endurance capacity in a very short time," Davis said.
"Quercetin supplementation was able to mimic some of the effects of exercise training," he added.
The study appears in International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.