No Effect of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on 100-m and 200-m Swimming Performance in Moderately Trained Swimmers

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Dietary nitrate supplementation has been reported to improve performance in kayaking and rowing exercise, which mandate significant recruitment of the upper-body musculature. Because the effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on swimming performance is unclear, the purpose of this study was to assess the effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on 100-m and 200-m swimming freestyle time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: In a double-blind, randomized crossover design, 10 moderately trained swimmers underwent 2 separate 3-d supplementation periods, with a daily dose of either 140 mL nitrate-rich (∼800 mg/d nitrate) or nitrate-depleted (PLA) beetroot juice (BRJ). After blood sampling on day 3, the swimmers performed both 200-m and 100-m freestyle swimming TTs, with 30 min recovery between trials. Results: Plasma nitrite concentration was greater after BRJ relative to PLA consumption (432 [203] nmol/L, 111 [56] nmol/L, respectively, P = .001). Systolic blood pressure was lowered after BRJ compared with PLA supplementation (114 [10], 120 [10] mm Hg, respectively P = .001), but time to complete the 200-m (BRJ 152.6 [14.1] s, PLA 152.5 [14.1] s) and 100-m (BRJ 69.5 [7.2] s, PLA 69.4 [7.4] s) freestyle swimming TTs was not different between BRJ and PLA (P > .05). Conclusions: Although 3 d of BRJ supplementation increased plasma nitrite concentration and lowered blood pressure, it did not improve 100-m and 200-m swimming TT performance. These results do not support an ergogenic effect of nitrate supplementation in moderately trained swimmers, at least for 100-m and 200-m freestyle swimming performance.

Esen, Nicholas, and Morris are with the Clinical Sciences and Nutrition Dept, University of Chester, Chester, United Kingdom. Esen is also with the Dept of Health Professions, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom. Bailey is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.

Esen (ozcan.esen@mmu.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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