Beet Root Juice

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Beet root Juice: Suggested ~500mL a few hours before race

After recently indulging myself in the odd-tasting (but still, somehow good) Beet Root Juice Shots at a Triathlon Show that I had attended, I felt the need to do some research for myself to see whether or not the hype is real.

I thought to myself, an all-natural, plant-based performance enhancer…could it be true!? A single dose of Beet Root before your race may just be that extra boost that you need to enhance your performance.

Pros

  • Increase in nitrite production from nitrateà this does a whole bunch of positive things for your body such as decrease systolic blood pressure, increase muscle contraction
  • Decrease oxygen requirements of the body by ~3%, therefore allowing your body to exercise at the same pace while also requiring less oxygen (Lansley et al., 2010)
  • Increase time to exhaustion; thus allowing you to exercise for longer (Murphy et al., 2012)
    • This helps prevent the dreaded bonk…. Something we all would love to avoid
  • It can boost your power output by ~1% (Cermak et al., 2010)
  • Decrease resting blood pressure (Ferreira & Behnke, 2011)
  • Lowers perceived effort during exercise
  • Lowers VO2 during submaximal exercise all while increasing time to fatigue (Mudderidge et al., 2014)
  • Boosts cognitive function of your brain (Kelly et al., 2013)
    • Although this isn’t sport specific, I do believe this is very important..think mental toughness, visualization, etc. All of the above and more can be improved through beet root juice consumption by increasing blood flow to the brain. This magical substance can also potentially decrease the onset of dementia.

Cons

  • Known to be a diuretic if you take too much, which I know is truly detrimental during an Olympic Triathlon
  • It has been found in studies by Muggeridge et al. (2013) and Wilkerson et al. (2013) that endurance kayakers, cyclists and runners was not affected by beat root juice in comparison to a placebo of Tomato Juice
    • But…may other studies found that it does improve endurance…you can choose which you want to believe
  • It’s benefits aren’t as pronounced with elite or trained athletes as they are with beginners
  • Unless you consume natural beetroot, other ingredients in the juices can impede it’s affects on the body

 

Ferreira, L. F., & Behnke, B. J. (2011). A toast to health and performance! Beetroot juice lowers blood pressure and the O2 cost of exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology110(3), 585-586.

Kelly, J., Fulford, J., Vanhatalo, A., Blackwell, J. R., French, O., Bailey, S. J., … & Jones, A. M. (2013). Effects of short-term dietary nitrate supplementation on blood pressure, O2 uptake kinetics, and muscle and cognitive function in older adults. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology304(2), R73-R83.

Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Fulford J, Vanhatalo A, Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR, DiMenna FJ, Gilchrist M, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol. First published November 9, 2010; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01070.2010.

Muggeridge, D. J., Howe, C. C., Spendiff, O., Pedlar, C., James, P. E., & Easton, C. (2014). A single dose of beetroot juice enhances cycling performance in simulated altitude. Med Sci Sports Exerc46(1), 143-150.

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