The recent excitement around beetroot juice as the latest sport supplement comes from its high nitrate content. Nitrate is converted to nitric oxide (NO) which acts as a vasodilator, opening blood vessels and allowing more blood and oxygen to be delivered to muscles. Nitrate may also reduce the energy cost of exercise and positively effect muscle contraction.
What is Nitrate?
Nitrate is actually found in many vegetables, but the recent hype around beetroot juice is because of its particularly high content of nitrate. Yes, beetroot juice can be made at home with your favourite blender or juicer but you can get the best results from using a concentrated dose which is also much easier to consume for the same amount of nitrate (70ml vs. ~500ml respectively).
Nitrate and performance
Nitrate is converted to nitric oxide (NO) once consumed. NO is most importantly used as a vasodilator, opening the blood vessels and flooding blood and oxygen into the muscles. Nitrate can also improve muscle contraction and reduce fatigue.
Who can benefit from Nitrate?
Nitrate has beneficial effects on performance for a range of endurance athletes in the lab, along with athletes training or competing at altitude (a low oxygen environment). Bodybuilders who wish to improve their muscle pumps to improve nutrient delivery and vascularity will find huge benefits from using it.
Potential side effects
- Mild gut discomfort in some athletes (particularly those who with FODMAPS intolerances) but it is rare.
- Pink coloured urine and stools (harmless).
Where can I find a Nitrate Supplement?
We have just released a great new Nitrate product called BEET-500. As a classified ‘Class A’ supplement (Australian Institute of Sport) BEET-500 has been found to have beneficial effects on performance for a range of endurance athletes due to its ability to promote blood flow and nutrient delivery. Bodybuilding and weight lifting athletes also find benefits from BEET-500 from its ability to promote muscle pumps. It also appears that athletes training or competing at altitude (a low oxygen environment) may have particularly good responses to BEET-500 (nitrate supplementation).
References for Beetroot Juice for Physical Performance?:
Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 75(3): 677–696.