The purpose of this review was to examine the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance by systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled human studies. A search of four electronic databases and cross-referencing found 17 studies investigating the effect of inorganic nitrate supplementation on exercise performance that met the inclusion criteria. Beetroot juice and sodium nitrate were the most common supplements, with doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg nitrate and prescribed in a manner ranging from a single bolus to 15 days of regular ingestion. Pooled analysis showed a significant moderate benefit (ES = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.23–1.35) of nitrate supplementation on performance for time to exhaustion tests (p = .006). There was a small but insignificant beneficial effect on performance for time trials (ES = 0.11, 95% CI: –0.16–0.37) and graded exercise tests (ES = 0.26, 95% CI: –0.10–0.62). Qualitative analysis suggested that performance benefits are more often observed in inactive to recreationally active individuals and when a chronic loading of nitrate over several days is undertaken. Overall, these results suggest that nitrate supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in constant load time to exhaustion tasks. Despite not reaching statistical significance, the small positive effect on time trial or graded exercise performance may be meaningful in an elite sport context. More data are required to clarify the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance and to elucidate the optimal way to implement supplementation.
Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Louise M. Burke
Catriona A. Burdon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Helen T. O’Connor
Beverage palatability is known to influence fluid consumption during exercise and may positively influence hydration status and help prevent fatigue, heat illness, and decreased performance.
The aims of this review were to evaluate the effect of beverage temperature on fluid intake during exercise and investigate the influence of beverage temperature on palatability.
Citations from multiple databases were searched from the earliest record to November 2010 using the terms beverage, fluid, or water and palatability, preference, feeding, and drinking behavior and temperature. Included studies (N = 14) needed to use adult (≥18 yr) human participants, have beverage temperatures ≤50 °C, and measure consumption during exercise and/or palatability.
All studies reporting palatability (n = 10) indicated that cold (0–10 °C) or cool (10–22 °C) beverages were preferred to warmer ones (control, ≥22 °C). A meta-analysis on studies reporting fluid consumption (n = 5) revealed that participants consumed ~50% (effect size = 1.4, 0.75–2.04, 95% CI) more cold/cool beverages than control during exercise. Subanalysis of studies assessing hydration status (n = 4) with consumption of cool/cold vs. warm beverages demonstrated that dehydration during exercise was reduced by 1.3% of body weight (1.6–0.9%, 95% CI; p < .001).
Cool beverage temperatures (<22 °C) significantly increased fluid palatability, fluid consumption, and hydration during exercise vs. control (≥22 °C).
Catriona A. Burdon, Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Helen T. O’Connor
The purpose of this study was to establish whether sensory factors associated with cold-beverage ingestion exert an ergogenic effect on endurance performance independent of thermoregulatory or cardiovascular factors.
Ten males performed three trials involving 90 min of steady state cycling (SS; 62% VO2max) in the heat (32.1 ± 0.9 °C, 40 ± 2.4% relative humidity) followed by a 4 kJ/kg body mass time trial (TT). During SS, participants consumed an identical volume (260 ± 38g) of sports beverage (7.4% carbohydrate) every 15 min as either ice slushy (–1 °C; ICE), thermoneutral liquid (37 °C; CON), or thermoneutral liquid consumption with expectorated ice slushy mouthwash (WASH).
Rectal temperature, hydration status, heart rate, and skin blood flow were not different between trials. Gastrointestinal (pill) temperature was lower in ICE (35.6 ± 2.7 °C) versus CON (37.4 ± 0.7 °C, p = .05). Heat storage tended to be lower with ICE during SS (14.7 ± 8.4W.m−2, p = .08) and higher during TT (68.9 ± 38.6W.m−2, p = .03) compared with CON (22.1 ± 6.6 and 31.4 ± 27.6W.m−2). ICE tended to lower the rating of perceived exertion (RPE, 12.9 ± 0.6, p = .05) and improve thermal comfort (TC, 4.5 ± 0.2; p = .01) vs. CON (13.8 ± 1.0 and 5.2 ± 0.2 respectively). WASH RPE (13.0 ± 0.8) and TC (4.8 ± 0.2) tended to be lower versus CON (p = .07 and p = .09 respectively). ICE improved performance (18:28 ± 1:03) compared with CON (20:24 ± 1:46) but not WASH (19:45 ± 1:43).
Improved performance with ICE ingestion likely resulted from the creation of a gastrointestinal heat sink, reducing SS heat storage. Although the benefits of cold-beverage consumption are more potent when there is ingestion, improved RPE, TC, and meaningful performance improvement with WASH supports an independent sensory effect of presenting a cold stimulus to the mouth.
Catriona A. Burdon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman, Ahmad Munir Che Muhamed and Helen T. O’Connor
The aim of this study was to measure the effect of environmental conditions and aid-station beverage-cooling practices on the temperature of competitor beverages.
Environmental and beverage temperatures were measured at three cycling and two run course aid stations at the 2010 Langkawi, Malaysia (MA), and Port Macquarie, Australia (AU), Ironman triathlon events. To measure the specific effect of radiant temperature, additional fluid-filled (600 ml) drink bottles (n = 12) were cooled overnight (C) and then placed in direct sun (n = 6) or shade (n = 6) near to a cycle aid station at AU.
During both events, beverage temperature increased over time (p < .05) as environmental conditions, particularly radiant temperature increased (p < .05). Mean beverage temperature ranged between 14–26°C and during both events was above the palatable range (15–22°C) for extended periods. At AU, bottles placed in direct sunlight heated faster (6.9 ± 2.3 °C·h−1) than those in the shade (4.8 ± 1.1°C·h−1, p = .05).
Simple changes to Ironman aidstation practices, including shade and chilling beverages with ice, result in the provision of cooler beverages. Future studies should investigate whether provision of cool beverages at prolonged endurance events influences heat-illness incidence, beverage-consumption patterns, and competitor performance.