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06.12.2020


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat

Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat
Adding a modest amount of onion to your diet restricts the growth of your fat layers if you put more energy into your body than you need. The quercetin analogues in onion ensure that an important part of that extra energy ends up in your muscles, and not in your fat tissues. This is suggested by an animal study that American nutritional scientists at Purdue University published in Genes & Nutrition in 2015.

Study
The researchers divided 40 C57BL / 6J mice into 4 groups. During the 9 weeks that their experiment lasted, they fed the mice in the first group standard chow [LF]. The other 3 groups were given food in which the researchers had added extra fat, which made the animals fatter [HF].

The first HF group of test animals received nothing else, the second and third groups received HF food in which the researchers had added quercetin [HF + Q] or a red onion extract [HF + RO]. That extract consists mainly of quercetin analogues.

If the mice in the HF + Q group had been adult humans, they would have been given about 10 milligrams of quercetin per day. The mice in the HF + RO group received a similar amount of quercetin analogues.

Quercetin in onions
Quercetin and quercetin analogues are in many, many foods. If your diet is healthy, you will get a few dozen milligrams of it daily. In that regard, the dose studied in this animal study was modest.


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


Onions are a good source of quercetin and quercetin analogues. An average standard onion of 80 grams contains a total of about 36 milligrams of quercetin. In addition, the quercetin analogues in onions, 3,4'-O-quercetin glucoside and 4'-O-quercetin glucoside, are relatively well absorbed.


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


When you fry onions, the total amount of quercetin in the onions does not decrease. According to some studies, it even increases a little. [Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2015;18(6):571-81.]

The onion variety with the highest concentration of quercetin analogues is red onions. [Acta Alimentaria. 2015;44(3):383-9.] Therefore, the researchers used an extract of red onion.


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


Results
The mice that were given quercetin or red onion in their food became less fat than the mice that were fattened without additives. Quercetin, in free form or in the form of its analogues in onions, inhibited fat mass growth.


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat

Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


Supplementation improved insulin sensitivity, the researchers further discovered.

You can see below how all this is possible. Quercetin and red onion increase the amount of mitochondria in the muscle cells. This means that the muscle cells can convert more nutrients into energy.


Supplementing with quercetin or red onion forces the body into giving muscle preferential treatment over fat


The researchers also determined the effect of quercetin and red onion on a number of genes involved in the processes in which the mitochondria derive energy from nutrients. They discovered that the mechanism of action of the free form of quercetin deviated here and there from the mode of action of the quercetin analogues in red onion.

Conclusion
"A low dose of quercetin, both by itself or as a component in red onion, increases energy expenditure and results in improvements in body composition and insulin sensitivity", summarize the researchers.

"The benefits of purified quercetin aglycone or red onion supplementation may be partially due to increases in skeletal muscle mitochondrial number which improve fat metabolism in a manner that limits mitochondrial lipid overload, and these changes may occur through differential regulation of mtDNA-encoded gene expression."

"The ability of quercetin or red onion not only to prevent obesity or insulin resistance but also to reverse these metabolic derangements should be further explored in future studies."

Source:
Genes Nutr. 2015 Jan;10(1):451.

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