Quercetin and lemon verbena speed recovery after intense exercise

Quercetin boosted antioxidant defenses

Intense exercise increases oxidative damage. In this study, 14 men, average age 25.5 years, took a placebo or 500 mg of quercetin twice per day, for two weeks before and after an exercise designed to damage muscle. This was an “eccentric” exercise, meaning one that lengthens the muscle while it is under load. For example, a bicep curl enters the eccentric phase as the arm slowly lowers the dumbbell back down until the arm is fully straight.

Doctors measured levels of lipid peroxidation—oxidative damage—in red blood cells, and its byproduct, reactive oxygen species called TBARS. Compared to placebo, those taking quercetin had significantly lower levels of lipid peroxidation and TBARS.

Discussing the findings, doctors said that consistently supplementing with quercetin before and after strenuous exercise makes red blood cells better able to recover from oxidative stress.

Lemon verbena reduced muscle damage

Exhaustive exercise can inflame and damage muscle, leading to fatigue and soreness. This study included 44 healthy men and women, aged 22 to 50, moderately active in sports, with normal to overweight body mass index scores, who ate no more than five portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Participants took a placebo or 400 mg of lemon verbena extract per day, beginning 10 days before and continuing five days after an exhaustive exercise day.

Compared to placebo, the lemon verbena group had less muscle damage as measured by creatine kinase levels; more enzymatic protection from oxidative damage; recovered faster, had less loss of muscle strength, and less exercise-induced pain.

Reference: Nutrition Research; 2018, Vol. 50, 73-81
Natural Insights for Well Being May 2018

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