No Improvement in Endurance Performance after a Single Dose of Beetroot Juice

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Introduction:

Dietary nitrate supplementation has received much attention in the literature due to its proposed ergogenic properties. Recently, the ingestion of a single bolus of nitrate-rich beetroot juice (500 ml, ~6.2 mmol NO3 ) was reported to improve subsequent time-trial performance. However, this large volume of ingested beetroot juice does not represent a realistic dietary strategy for athletes to follow in a practical, performancebased setting. Therefore, we investigated the impact of ingesting a single bolus of concentrated nitrate-rich beetroot juice (140 ml, ~8.7 mmol NO3 ) on subsequent 1-hr time-trial performance in well-trained cyclists.

Methods:

Using a double-blind, repeated-measures crossover design (1-wk washout period), 20 trained male cyclists (26 ± 1 yr, VO2peak 60 ± 1 ml · kg−1 · min−1, Wmax 398 ± 7.7 W) ingested 140 ml of concentrated beetroot juice (8.7 mmol NO3 ; BEET) or a placebo (nitrate-depleted beetroot juice; PLAC) with breakfast 2.5 hr before an ~1-hr cycling time trial (1,073 ± 21 kJ). Resting blood samples were collected every 30 min after BEET or PLAC ingestion and immediately after the time trial.

Results:

Plasma nitrite concentration was higher in BEET than PLAC before the onset of the time trial (532 ± 32 vs. 271 ± 13 nM, respectively; p < .001), but subsequent time-trial performance (65.5 ± 1.1 vs. 65 ± 1.1 s), power output (275 ± 7 vs. 278 ± 7 W), and heart rate (170 ± 2 vs. 170 ± 2 beats/min) did not differ between BEET and PLAC treatments (all p > .05).

Conclusion:

Ingestion of a single bolus of concentrated (140 ml) beetroot juice (8.7 mmol NO3 ) does not improve subsequent 1-hr time-trial performance in well-trained cyclists.

Cermak, Res, Stinkens, and van Loon are with the NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Lundberg is with the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Gibala is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism