Arginine is likely your favorite supplement for enhancing the muscle pump during workouts. If you really stay on top of supplement science, then you may also take citrulline, pycnogenol and even vitamin C. But regardless of how supplement savvy you are, we bet you haven’t tried this one: quercetin.

What’s quercetin? Belonging to a class of water-soluble plant pigments known as flavonoids, quercetin acts as an antihistamine and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, it protects LDL (bad) cholesterol from becoming damaged. (Damaged LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is believed to be an underlying cause of heart disease.) If that’s not enough, quercetin has been shown to enhance bone formation and even have sun-blocking effects when used in a skin preparation. Besides these health-promoting effects, quercetin has one more trick up its sleeve – one that can further enhance your muscle pump.

Researchers from the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) reported in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Nutrition that subjects with high blood pressure who were given quercetin supplements for 28 days experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure. Although no experiments were conducted to determine the mechanism involved, the scientists hypothesized that it was due to quercetin’s ability to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which increases the constriction of blood vessels.

By blocking ACE, you enhance the ability of the blood vessels to dilate. This not only decreases blood pressure but enhances blood flow, which leads to a greater muscle pump, similar to how whey protein promotes blood flow. Since this mechanism is different from how nitric oxide (NO) works, you could get an added effect by taking quercetin along with your favorite NO boosters.

In addition to blood flow, quercetin can aid fat loss, so some supplement manufacturers add it to their fat-burners. Research from the Korea Food Research Institute suggests that quercetin activates an enzyme that promotes fat-burning and inhibits fat storage. Researchers from the University of Granada (Spain) discovered that quercetin’s fat-burning effect may be due to its ability to increase the fat-burning hormone adiponectin.

Either way, quercetin makes for a great way to boost your pump and decrease bodyfat. Try 500 mg of quercetin whenever you take your NO boosters: in the morning, 30-60 minutes preworkout and at night.

Q Foods

You can also increase quercetin levels by eating foods that are rich in this flavenoid.
Red Currants
Tea (Black or Green)