Perform Better & Age Slower
There is increased interest among such diverse groups as the military, athletes and the aging for plant-derived dietary supplements to enhance physical and mental performance and also maintain/improve health. Quercetin is a plant flavanoid that has been shown to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis (factories in your body making cells). This produces a long list of performance and health benefits.
Haskap juice is a rich source of two forms of natural plant-derived quercetin; quercetin-3-
rutinoside and quercetin-3-glucoside (Ochmian et al. 2009). When served in a juice form the concentration of quercetins increases.
Quercetin – Improved Physical Performance:
There is good evidence to support the understanding that quercetin increases endurance exercise capacity. In mice fed 25mg/kg quercetin for seven days, the expression of two key mitochondrial biogenesis genes doubled relative to mice feed a placebo. This increased enzyme activity resulted in double the concentration of mitochondrial DNA within muscle and brain tissues. Mice fed quercetin also showed a 50% increase in maximal endurance and increased levels of voluntary activity; both of these responses could be attributed to increased mitochondrial activity (Davis et al. 2009).
A study using human subjects also gave evidence that feeding 1g/day quercetin for a 2-week period increased specific markers of mitochondrial biogenesis and resulted in an improvement in 12-min treadmill time trial performance over a placebo (Nieman et al. 2010). Due to their effect on mitochondria, flavonols (specifically quercetin) have been suggested as supplements for high performance athletes and for fitness enthusiasts (Nieman et al. 2010).
Another interesting property of quercetin that may enhance mental and physical performance is its caffeine-like “psychostimulant” effect. Numerous studies have shown that psychostimulants like caffeine can delay fatigue during endurance exercise, at least in part because of their ability to block adenosine receptors in the brain, which results in large part in an increase in dopamine activity. Various flavonoids also possess adenosine A1 receptor antagonist activity in vitro. Of the flavonoids that were tested, quercetin was shown to have the highest affinity for this receptor, which was similar to caffeine. Further evidence for this effect in mice comes from our laboratory that shows increased gene expression of adenosine A1 receptors in the brain following 7 d of quercetin feedings.
Quercetin – Age Slower:
The pharmacological activity of quercetin and its derivatives have been extensively studied. Quercetin has been shown to be an activator of the sirtuin enzyme in humans (Howitz et al. 2003). This enzyme has been shown to be involved in the aging process of mice through processes such as histone deacetylation, DNA repair and the methylation of inactive genes (Oberdoerffer et al. 2008). Kampkotter et al. (2008) showed that absorption of quercetin can extend the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans by approximately 15%. Quercetin has also been shown to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis within mammalian (human) tissues.
Added to quercetin availability, Sweet Prairie Haskap is also rich in anthocyanins – another plant-derived flavonoid. Haskap has more reported anthocyanins than any other studied berry – 3x more than blueberries. Anthocyanins have important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vasoactive properties which have the potential to mitigate the development of exercise-induced oxidative stress and improve exercise performance. Anthocyanins also have important vasoactive properties helping to lower blood pressure and increase vasodilation leading to improved muscle blood flow and oxygen delivery during exercise.
We will continue to monitor the research supporting quercetin and its ability to enhance physical and mental performance and also maintain/improve health. Sweet Prairie Haskap will support research across North America to further investigate the benefits for sport and healthy living.
3. Alexander SP. Flavonoids as antagonists at A1 adenosine receptors. Phytother. Res. 2006; 20:1009-12.
4. Cook, M., & Willems, M. (2019). Dietary Anthocyanins: A Review of the Exercise Performance Effects and Related Physiological Responses, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 29(3), 322-330.