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Can Quercetin Help You Lose Weight? 8 Things You Should Know

It seems like just about everyone is searching for a natural solution to weight loss – one that works quickly and is free from side effects. One natural weight loss option is to take a supplement whilst following a healthy diet and getting enough exercise.

And if you’re a connoisseur of natural ingredients then you may have heard the hype surrounding Quercetin and how it might improve your health.

But can a Quercetin supplement really help you fight off infection, lower your blood pressure and improve your energy levels? And could it be the answer to quicker weight loss?

Let’s dig deeper into our list of the 8 things you should know about Quercetin….

1. Quercetin is a naturally occurring substance

Even if you have heard of Quercetin, it’s likely that you’re not quite sure what it actually is…

Quercetin is a polyphenolic nutrient compound known as a flavonol, a type of molecule that also functions as an antioxidant.

Quercetin is commonly found in fruits and vegetables such as berries, onions, capers, leafy greens, and tomatoes, but when it comes to most peoples’ diets it typically comes from apples and potatoes (1, 2, 3).

On top of this, several studies have found that organically-grown fruit and veg tends to contain more Quercetin than those that are grown conventionally (4).

2. It might help boost your health!

The scientific community has known about Quercetin for a while now, as it is understood to help reduce inflammation in the body (3). The reason for this is that Quercetin may play a role in the inhibition of cytokines, a type of cell that promotes inflammation (4). As a result, it has been hypothesized that quercetin could potentially be used to control inflammation associated conditions, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune illnesses
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity.
Top Tips: “Most studies regarding quercetin and blood pressure have found that daily doses of 150 to 500 mg over several weeks can decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”

According to certain studies, Quercetin has been shown to decrease the incidence of illness following intense exercise, especially upper respiratory infections such as coronaviruses and adenoviruses. For example, one double-blind study found that dosing with a 1000 mg dose of quercetin before, during and after a winter cycling regimen resulted in far fewer upper respiratory infections in participants (3).

Another study found that 2 weeks of daily 1000 mg quercetin supplementation reduced the rate of any illness in untrained young males compared to placebo (3).

However, other studies have called into question the benefits of this natural extract, and at best it seems the depth of Quercetin’s effects can vary, so it is not entirely understood at this time just how helpful Quercetin might in the battle against infections and illness.

3. Quercetin may help reduce your blood pressure.

As a flavonoid, quercetin is known to play a role in the regulation of blood pressure (5). These natural substances can supposedly affect vascular resistance, total blood volume, vascular contraction rate, as well as the overall strength of cells within the cardiovascular system. Quercetin also acts on cells associated with the kidneys to adjust sodium reabsorption as needed based on blood volume, which in turn adjusts blood pressure.

Most studies regarding quercetin and blood pressure have found that daily doses of 150 to 500 mg over several weeks can decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants with stage 1 hypertension, but it is important to note that these effects have not been found in people with prehypertension (1).

Suplements

4. The optimal dose of quercetin is not yet known.

Although it’s clear that quercetin supplementation may have merit when it comes to things like controlling blood pressure and reducing inflammation, narrowing down an effective dosage is difficult.

Quercetin supplements tend to have low bioavailability, meaning that the amount consumed is very high compared to what is actually absorbed and used by the body (2). This means that unrealistically large doses may be required each day in order to see any benefits, something that is likely down to the fact that it is not well absorbed by the intestines.

To explain this further, absorption of the naturally-occurring form of Quercetin, Quercetin glucoside, has been estimated at between just 3 and 17 percent in healthy individuals, and some studies have concluded Quercetin’s bioavailability to be only 2 percent for a single dose (3).

Additionally, individual factors such as vitamin C intake, gender, and type of foods consumed can affect the bioavailability of Quercetin (2).

5. There is little evidence that quercetin boosts exercise endurance significantly.

Another possible function of Quercetin is its apparent effect on capacity for endurance exercise, typically measured using VO2max (the measurement of aerobic capacity).

Various studies have been done in order to try and prove a link between this antioxidant and endurance.
One research paper done by the Georgia Institute of Technology has concluded that taking 1000 mg of Quercetin per day for 2 weeks did indeed provide a statistically significant increase in VO2max and endurance exercise capacity (6, 7, 8).

Top Tips: “Whilst the study did find a link between Quercetin and improved exercise performance, the benefit was so small that the authors referred to it as trivial.”

If you’re not a scientist, these results might sound promising….

However, unfortunately statistical significance does not always mean real life significance. Whilst the study did find a link between Quercetin and improved exercise performance, the benefit was so small that the authors referred to it as trivial. (6). (9).

Additionally, a number of other studies have concluded that quercetin supplementation does not play any role in endurance exercise capacity, these conflicting results make it quite difficult to determine if such an effect even exists at all (9, 10).

Exercise

6. Quercetin is unlikely to help women burn body fat.

The million-dollar question. Can Quercetin help you burn fat?

Theoretically, quercetin has the ability to decrease the creation of new fat cells (adipogenesis), whilst increasing the rate of at which fat cells are destroyed (apoptosis ). It is also thought to control the rate at which enzymes associated with fat storage go about their functions.

So far so good..

Additionally, studies on mice that were fed a high-fat diet have concluded that Quercetin supplementation did decrease the onset of obesity when compared to other mice consuming the same diet without a Quercetin supplement (11). Scientists went even further and concluded that this effect was down to Quercetin’s effect on genes related to fat metabolism.

Top Tips: “One study of normal-weight women found no compelling evidence that Quercetin had a thermic (fat-burning) effect in humans when compared with placebo group.”

So, quercetin can help you beat a bad diet and burn body fat, right? Not so fast!

Although animal studies can be relevant in some situations, it appears that humans are quite different from mice when it comes to losing weight. One study of normal-weight women found no compelling evidence that Quercetin had a thermic (fat-burning) effect in humans when compared with placebo group (12).

On top of this other animal studies have also been inconsistent, with some even reporting weight gain as a result of Quercetin supplementation (11). More research is certainly ideal at this point, but it appears that fat-burning is just not something Quercetin can help with in in humans.

Weight loss

7. Studies show no effect on weight loss or body composition in humans.

Although exercise performance may get a slight boost as a result of Quercetin intake, this does not necessarily equate to a decrease in body fat or overall weight loss, and using supplemental quercetin on its own without any other lifestyle changes certainly will not do the trick (7). In order to yield these types of results, longer duration and higher doses of supplementation would likely be necessary.

Unlike mice, the human body appears to have minimal response to quercetin when it comes to weight loss and body composition change, and human studies have typically concluded that there is no effect.

For example, one study in Germany concluded that 6 weeks of quercetin supplementation at 150 mg/day resulted in no change in weight, body fat mass, lean muscle mass, or waist circumference (13). Sadly, it seems that quercetin is not in fact a miracle weight loss ingredient.

Quercetin-intake

8. Conclusion: Should I supplement with quercetin?

Studies surrounding the effects of Quercetin on athletic performance and weight loss have had mixed results. Additionally, inconsistent outcomes regarding the bioavailability of a Quercetin make it difficult to determine whether or not your body will actually absorb and make use of it.

That said, quercetin is generally regarded as a safe supplement, and whilst its effectiveness may vary depending on many factors it is still conceivable that you could see some benefits. You may even find that your results vary compared to a friend or even research studies, depending on your personal health status, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or other factors (3).

If you do choose to try quercetin for any reason, be consistent with taking it each and day and realize that it may be several weeks or even months until effects occur (if they do at all).

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    References

    1. R Edwards et al. Quercetin Reduces Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects (2007), 2405–2411 (1)
    2. M Kaşıkcı et al. Bioavailability of Quercetin (2016) (2)
    3. Yao Li et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity (2016), 167 (3)
    4. S Chen et al. Therapeutic Effects of Quercetin on Inflammation, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes (2016) (4)
    5. Y Marunaka et al. Actions of Quercetin, a Polyphenol, on Blood Pressure (2017) (5)
    6. J Kressler et al. Quercetin and Endurance Exercise Capacity: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2011) (6)
    7. P Daneshvar et al. Effect of Eight Weeks of Quercetin Supplementation on Exercise Performance, Muscle Damage and Body Muscle in Male Badminton Players (2013) (7)
    8. G Askari et al. The Effects of Quercetin Supplementation on Body Composition, Exercise Performance and Muscle Damage Indices in Athletes (2013) (8)
    9. R Edwards et al. Quercetin Reduces Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects (2007), 2405–2411 (9)
    10. J Kressler et al. Dietary quercetin supplementation is not ergogenic in untrained men (2009) (10)
    11. L Stewart et al. Quercetin transiently increases energy expenditure but persistently decreases circulating markers of inflammation in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet (2008) (11)
    12. S Egert et al. No evidence for a thermic effect of the dietary flavonol quercetin: a pilot study in healthy normal-weight women. (2011) (12)
    13. M Muller et al. Serum Lipid and Blood Pressure Responses to Quercetin Vary in Overweight Patients by Apolipoprotein E Genotype (2009), 278–284 (13)