Int J Sports Med 2008; 29(10): 856-863
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-989424

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Post-160-km Race Illness Rates and Decreases in Granulocyte Respiratory Burst and Salivary IgA Output are Not Countered by Quercetin Ingestion

D. Henson1 , D. Nieman2 , J. M. Davis3 , C. Dumke2 , S. Gross2 , A. Murphy3 , M. Carmichael3 , D. P. Jenkins1 , J. Quindry2 , S. McAnulty2 , L. McAnulty4 , A. Utter2 , E. Mayer3
  • 1Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, United States
  • 2Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, United States
  • 3Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, United States
  • 4Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, United States
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision November 15, 2007

Publication Date:
22 January 2008 (online)


This study measured the influence of the flavonoid quercetin on immune changes and incidence rates of upper respiratory tract infections in ultramarathoners competing in the 160-km Western States Endurance Run. Sixty-three runners were randomized to quercetin and placebo groups, and under double-blinded methods ingested 1000 mg/day quercetin for 3 wks before, during, and 2 wks after the race. Thirty-nine of the 63 subjects (n = 18 for quercetin, n = 21 for placebo) finished the race and provided blood and saliva samples the morning before the race and 15 – 30 min postrace. Upper respiratory tract infections were assessed during the week before and the 2-wk period after the race using an illness symptom checklist. Race times did not differ significantly between quercetin and placebo groups. Significant pre- to postrace decreases were measured for natural killer cells (43 %), granulocyte respiratory burst activity (55 %), and salivary IgA output (48 %), and increases for neutrophil (288 %) and monocyte (211 %) cell counts, with no significant group differences. Postrace illness rates did not differ between groups. In conclusion, quercetin supplementation for 3 wks before and 2 wks after the Western States Endurance Run had no effect on illness rates, perturbations in leukocyte subset counts, or decreases in granulocyte respiratory burst activity and salivary IgA.


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Dr. Dru Henson

Appalachian State University
Department of Biology

IG Greer 201, CAS

Boone, North Carolina 28608

United States

Phone: + 1 82 82 62 30 78

Fax: + 1 82 82 62 48 91