The aim of the present investigation was to test the hypothesis that quercetin (Q) may prevent the strength loss and neuromuscular impairment associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage (EEIMD). Twelve young men (26.1 ± 3.1 years) ingested either Q (1000 mg/day) or placebo (PLA) for 14 days using a randomized, double-blind, crossover study design. Participants completed a comprehensive neuromuscular (NM) evaluation before, during and after an eccentric protocol able to induce a severe muscle damage (10 sets of 10 maximal lengthening contractions). The NM evaluation comprised maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and force–velocity relationship assessments with simultaneous recording of electromyographic signals (EMG) from the elbow flexor muscles. Soreness, resting arm angle, arm circumference, plasma creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were also assessed. Q supplementation significantly increased the isometric strength recorded during MVIC compared to baseline (+4.7%, p
< 0.05). Moreover, the torque and muscle fiber conduction velocity (MFCV) decay recorded during the eccentric exercise was significant lower in Q compared to PLA. Immediately after the EEIMD, isometric strength, the force–velocity relationship and MFCV were significantly lower when participants were given PLA rather than Q. Fourteen days of Q supplementation seems able to attenuate the severity of muscle weakness caused by eccentric-induced myofibrillar disruption and sarcolemmal action potential propagation impairment.
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