Does Beetroot improve athletic performance?

If so, which compound in beetroot is responsible? Find out more..

Beetroot lowers blood pressure

Beetroot has long been known to be a root vegetable that supports lowering blood pressure.  This is a well-known fact and accepted all over the world by many scientists.  

Beetroot contains inorganic nitrates which get converted to Nitric Oxide (NO).  This NO is a vasodilator which means it causes blood vessels to dilate which lowers blood pressure.

Beetroot improves cardio-vascular output

Beetroot has as well attracted the attention of endurance athletes as it can improve endurance performance. 

How does this work?

The same nitrates in beetroot can also support an athlete in his endurance performance. Nitrate gets converted in the mouth by bacteria to Nitrite which eventually converts to NO. This Nitric Oxide is a potent vasodilator.  It will end up in tissues with low levels of oxygen through the bloodstream. Oxygen levels will increase in these tissues, more ATP (energy) can be made and athletic performance improves!

Results from studies

Several studies have taken place to double-check if beetroot juice really makes a difference.  Some results were statistically significant but not all.  More research needs to be done to look into different types of beetroot, the dosage, how long it has to be taken for and how far in advance before exercise.

So when should we take beetroot juice supplementation to get the best results according to current research?

More Nitric Oxide will be produced if supplementation of beetroot juice is taken for a week in advance a competition and again 60-90 minutes before the start.  It is important not to brush your teeth before and after supplementation as bacteria in the mouth are responsible in converting the nitrate.

Beetroot juice has an acquired taste (for some) and is much more enjoyable when drinking straight out of the fridge!