Quercetin may improve triathlon performance and aid in recovery, study suggests

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / GlobalStock
Getty Images / GlobalStock

Related tags Energy recovery botanical

Amateur triathlon athletes experienced less muscular pain and cramps after taking a supplement containing quercetin, compared to the athletes who didn’t, according to new pilot study results.

Quercetin is a flavonoid commonly found in several botanical species. A group of researchers from Italy studied the potential sports nutrition benefits of quercetin treated with a technology called Phytosome, developed by Italian company Indena using food-grade lecithin.

In a study on 48 amateur athletes, they found that the 23 participants who ingested quercetin exhibited greater improvements of time to complete a run compared to the participants who did not ingest it.

Additionally, post-run muscular pain, cramps, localized pain, and post-exercise recovery time all scored better in the group of athletes who took the supplement, the researchers wrote. The results were published​ in the journal Minerva Medica ​in August last year.

Indena started marketing a standardized quercetin treated with phytosome, called Quercefit​, at the SupplySide West show in November last year. The ingredient uses quercetin derived from the plant Sophora japonica​.

“Flavonoids, especially quercetin, are very important biological molecules with proven multiple activities that potentially may be used to treat several human health conditions. However, the use of quercetin has been limited by its low bioavailability until today,” ​said Antonella Riva, product research manager at Indena and one of the co-authors of the study.

Riva authored another report, published in October 2018 in the European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics​, which showed how the Phytosome technology boosted​ bioavailability, water solubility, and stability of quercetin.

Study details

Forty-eight amateur athletes participated in the study. Twenty-three of them received a quercetin supplement, while the remaining 25 did not. No placebo was used. All participants were free to decide whether or not they would like to take a supplement.

All participants went through the same training and nutritional plans. Measured exercised included a swim distance in open seawater of 750 m, a cycling distance of 20 km, and a 5 km run, all conducted at the beachside of Pescara, Italy.

Sophora japonica_2
Indena's Quercefit comes from extract of Sophora japonica.

All participants conducted a baseline performance run on the first day, and a second final measurement run at day 14 after supplementation.

The participants who ingested the supplement did so twice a day, with one tablet of 250 mg quercetin phytosome each time for a total dose of 500 mg daily, for 14 days.

There are several other studies linking quercetin to athletic performance. In January of last year, researchers from Rome found that two weeks of supplementation with one g per day of quercetin was associated with a better response to the oxidative environment produced by eccentric exercise, compared to a placebo.

Source: Minerva Medica
Pulbished online, doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.18.05681-1.
“Quercetin phytosome® in triathlon athletes: a pilot registry study”
Authors: Riva A., et al

Interested in Sports Nutrition?


The inaugural NutraIngredients-USA Sports Nutrition Summit​, in association with the International Society of Sports Nutrition, will bring together leading scientists, brands and retailers, market analysts, and innovators in a unique, market-leading face-to-face event. 

The key themes of this event include: 

- The “size of the prize”
- The power and importance of social media
- Positioning and differentiation
- Sports nutrition and the military - product use survey data and enhancing the performance of Warfighters
- The State of the Science: Sports, fitness and exercise Nutrition
- Sports Nutrition products and Elite Athletes 
- Alphabet soup: Everything brands need to know about GMPs, NDIs, AERs, DASCA, SARMs…
- Bacterial boosts – The microbiome and sports
- Personalization and the digital revolution
- Nootropics & sports nutrition

Register now to make sure you are there!

Related topics Research

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more


Nutra Champions Podcast

Nutra Champions Podcast