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Beetroot juice for improved athletic endurance performance?

There is a lot of hype around beetroot juice consumption for improved physical performance in athletes, especially endurance. Is this true?

Beetroot juice is a supplement with a high nitrate content that is said to improve physical performance secondary to nitric oxide. Supplementation or dietary ingestion of nitrates appears to reduce oxygen consumption during exercise and reduce VO2 max without affecting exercise performance. In a research study consumption of beetroot juice showed an improvement in plasma nitrite levels. In the study it was observed that plasma nitrite declined 20% during exercise in trained athletes, but consumption of 490 ml beetroot juice, before exercise, resulted in a 52% increase in plasma nitrate (relative to their baseline values). In another study, athletes were subjected to exercise trials, and their performance in 20 m intermittent sprinting, increased by 4.2% relative to placebo, following the consumption of 490 ml beetroot juice. In tests that measure time to exhaustion, beetroot juice showed an association with an anti-fatigue effect and prolongation of exercise performance. However, no significant effects of beetroot juice were observed on the acute power output in the athletes. Conclusion Acute supplementation with beetroot juice may have an ergogenic effect on reducing VO2 at less than or equal to VO2max intensity that makes it possible to enable increased time-to-exhaustion at less than or equal to VO2max intensity. In addition to improving efficiency and performance in various time trials or increasing time-to-exhaustion at submaximal intensities, chronic supplementation with beetroot juice may improve cardiorespiratory performance at the anaerobic threshold and VO2max intensities. Intake of beetroot juice should be initiated within 90 min before athletic effort, since the peak value of nitrates occurs within 2–3 h after ingestion. At least 6–8 mmol of nitrate intake is required to observe an improvement in athletic performance. Content by Dr Harsha Joshi References: Domínguez, Raúl et al. “Effects of Beetroot JNutrients vol. 9,1 43. 6 Jan. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9010043 Larsen FJ, et al. Effects of dietary nitrate on oxygen cost during exercise. Acta Physiol (Oxf). (2007)uice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review.” Lansley KE, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol. (2011) Lidder S, Webb AJ. Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. Br J Clin Pharmacol. (2013) Wylie LJ, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2013)
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