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Marcus J. Callahan, Evelyn B. Parr, John A. Hawley and Louise M. Burke

When ingested alone, beetroot juice and sodium bicarbonate are ergogenic for high-intensity exercise performance. This study sought to determine the independent and combined effects of these supplements. Eight endurance trained (VO2max 65 mL·kg·min-1) male cyclists completed four × 4-km time trials (TT) in a doubleblind Latin square design supplementing with beetroot crystals (BC) for 3 days (15 g·day-1 + 15 g 1 h before TT, containing 300 mg nitrate per 15 g), bicarbonate (Bi 0.3 g·kg-1 body mass [BM] in 5 doses every 15 min from 2.5 h before TT); BC+Bi or placebo (PLA). Subjects completed TTs on a Velotron cycle ergometer under standardized laboratory conditions. Plasma nitrite concentrations were significantly elevated only in the BC+Bi trial before the TT (1520 ± 786 nmol·L-1) compared with baseline (665 ± 535 nmol·L-1, p = .02) and the Bi and PLA conditions (Bi: 593 ± 203 nmol·L-1, p < .01; PLA: 543 ± 369 nmol·L-1, p < .01). Plasma nitrite concentrations were not elevated in the BC trial before the TT (1102 ± 218 nmol·L-1) compared with baseline (975 ± 607 nmol·L-1, p > .05). Blood bicarbonate concentrations were increased in the BC+Bi and Bi trials before the TT (BC+Bi: 30.9 ± 2.8 mmol·L-1; Bi: 31.7 ± 1.1 mmol·L-1). There were no differences in mean power output (386–394 W) or the time taken to complete the TT (335.8–338.1 s) between any conditions. Under the conditions of this study, supplementation was not ergogenic for 4-km TT performance.

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Matthew J. Barlow, Antonis Elia, Oliver M. Shannon, Angeliki Zacharogianni and Angelica Lodin-Sundstrom

accumulate ( Schagatay, 2010 ). A low oxygen consumption is, hence, viewed as key to successful apnea performance (see Schagatay, 2009 , 2010 , 2011 , for review), and strategies that minimize oxygen consumption are highly desired. Recently, dietary nitrate ( NO 3 − ) supplementation has attracted

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Sam Lowings, Oliver Michael Shannon, Kevin Deighton, Jamie Matu and Matthew John Barlow

Nitrate supplementation appears to be most ergogenic when oxygen availability is restricted and subsequently may be particularly beneficial for swimming performance due to the breath-hold element of this sport. This represents the first investigation of nitrate supplementation and swimming time-trial (TT) performance. In a randomized double-blind repeated-measures crossover study, ten (5 male, 5 female) trained swimmers ingested 140ml nitrate-rich (~12.5mmol nitrate) or nitrate-depleted (~0.01mmol nitrate) beetroot juice. Three hours later, subjects completed a maximal effort swim TT comprising 168m (8 × 21m lengths) backstroke. Preexercise fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration was significantly elevated with nitrate compared with placebo, Mean (SD): 17 (9) vs. 7 (3)p.p.b., p = .008. Nitrate supplementation had a likely trivial effect on overall swim TT performance (mean difference 1.22s; 90% CI -0.18–2.6s; 0.93%; p = .144; d = 0.13; unlikely beneficial (22.6%), likely trivial (77.2%), most unlikely negative (0.2%)). The effects of nitrate supplementation during the first half of the TT were trivial (mean difference 0.29s; 90% CI -0.94–1.5s; 0.46%; p = .678; d = 0.05), but there was a possible beneficial effect of nitrate supplementation during the second half of the TT (mean difference 0.93s; 90% CI 0.13–1.70s; 1.36%; p = .062; d = 0.24; possibly beneficial (63.5%), possibly trivial (36.3%), most unlikely negative (0.2%)). The duration and speed of underwater swimming within the performance did not differ between nitrate and placebo (both p > .30). Nitrate supplementation increased nitric oxide bioavailability but did not benefit short-distance swimming performance or the underwater phases of the TT. Further investigation into the effects of nitrate supplementation during the second half of performance tests may be warranted.

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Ernest G. Rimer, Linda R. Peterson, Andrew R. Coggan and James C. Martin

Muscle-shortening velocity and hence power have been shown to increase in the presence of nitric oxide (NO). NO availability increases after consuming nitrate (NO3 -). Ingestion of NO3 -rich beetroot juice (BRJ) has increased muscle power in untrained adults.

Purpose:

This study determined whether NO3 - supplementation could acutely enhance maximal power in trained athletes.

Methods:

In this double-blind, crossover study, 13 trained athletes performed maximal inertial-load cycling trials (3–4 s) immediately before (PRE) and after (POST) consuming either NO3 -rich (NO3) or NO3 -depleted (PLA) BRJ to assess acute changes (ie, within the same day) in maximal power (PMAX) and optimal pedaling rate (RPMopt). Participants also performed maximal isokinetic cycling (30 s) to assess performance differences after supplementation.

Results:

2 x 2 repeated-measures ANOVA indicated a greater increase in PMAX from PRE to POST NO3 (PRE 1160 ± 301 W to POST 1229 ± 317 W) than with PLA (PRE 1191 ± 298 W to POST 1213 ± 300 W) (P = .009; η p 2 = 0.45). A paired t-test verified a greater relative change in PMAX after NO3 (6.0% ± 2.6%) than with PLA (2.0% ± 3.8%) (P = .014; d = 1.21). RPMopt remained unchanged from PRE (123 ± 14 rpm) to POST PLA (122 ± 14 rpm) but increased from PRE (120 ± 14 rpm) to POST NO3 (127 ± 13 rpm) (P = .043; η p 2 = 0.30). There was no relative change in RPMopt after PLA (–0.3% ± 4.1%), but there was an increase after NO3 (6.5% ± 11.4%) (P = .049; d = 0.79). No differences were observed between the 30-s isokinetic trials.

Conclusions:

Acute NO3 - supplementation can enhance maximal muscle power in trained athletes. These findings may particularly benefit power-sport athletes who perform brief explosive actions.

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Naomi M. Cermak, Martin J. Gibala and Luc J.C. van Loon

Six days of dietary nitrate supplementation in the form of beetroot juice (~0.5 L/d) has been reported to reduce pulmonary oxygen uptake (VO2) during submaximal exercise and increase tolerance of high-intensity work rates, suggesting that nitrate can be a potent ergogenic aid. Limited data are available regarding the effect of nitrate ingestion on athletic performance, and no study has investigated the potential ergogenic effects of a small-volume, concentrated dose of beetroot juice. The authors tested the hypothesis that 6 d of nitrate ingestion would improve time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Using a double-blind, repeated-measures crossover design, 12 male cyclists (31 ± 3 yr, VO2peak = 58 ± 2 ml · kg−1 · min−1, maximal power [Wmax] = 342 ± 10 W) ingested 140 ml/d of concentrated beetroot (~8 mmol/d nitrate) juice (BEET) or a placebo (nitrate-depleted beetroot juice; PLAC) for 6 d, separated by a 14-d washout. After supplementation on Day 6, subjects performed 60 min of submaximal cycling (2 × 30 min at 45% and 65% Wmax, respectively), followed by a 10-km time trial. Time-trial performance (953 ± 18 vs. 965 ± 18 s, p < .005) and power output (294 ± 12 vs. 288 ± 12 W, p < .05) improved after BEET compared with PLAC supplementation. Submaximal VO2 was lower after BEET (45% Wmax = 1.92 ± 0.06 vs. 2.02 ± 0.09 L/min, 65% Wmax 2.94 ± 0.12 vs. 3.11 ± 0.12 L/min) than with PLAC (main effect, p < .05). Wholebody fuel selection and plasma lactate, glucose, and insulin concentrations did not differ between treatments. Six days of nitrate supplementation reduced VO2 during submaximal exercise and improved time-trial performance in trained cyclists.

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Jean M. Nyakayiru, Kristin L. Jonvik, Philippe J.M. Pinckaers, Joan Senden, Luc J.C. van Loon and Lex B. Verdijk

While the majority of studies reporting ergogenic effects of dietary nitrate have used a multiday supplementation protocol, some studies suggest that a single dose of dietary nitrate before exercise can also improve subsequent performance. We aimed to compare the impact of acute and 6-day sodium nitrate supplementation on oxygen uptake (V̇O2) and time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Using a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design, 17 male cyclists (25 ± 4 y, V̇O2peak 65 ± 4 ml·kg-1·min-1, Wmax 411 ± 35 W) were subjected to 3 different trials; 5 days placebo and 1 day sodium nitrate supplementation (1-DAY); 6 days sodium nitrate supplementation (6-DAY); 6 days placebo supplementation (PLA). Nitrate was administered as 1097 mg sodium nitrate providing 800 mg (~12.9 mmol) nitrate per day. Three hours after ingestion of the last supplemental bolus, indirect calorimetry was performed while subjects performed 30 min of exercise at 45% Wmax and 30 min at 65% Wmax on a cycle ergometer, followed by a 10 km time-trial. Immediately before exercise, plasma [nitrate] and [nitrite] increased to a similar extent during the 6-DAY and 1-DAY trial, but not with PLA (plasma nitrite: 501 ± 205, 553 ± 278, and 239 ± 74 nM, respectively; p < .001). No differences were observed between interventions in V̇O2 during submaximal exercise, or in time to complete the time-trial (6-DAY: 1004 ± 61, 1-DAY: 1022 ± 72, PLA: 1017 ± 71 s; p = .28). We conclude that both acute and 6-days of sodium nitrate supplementation do not alter V̇O2 during submaximal exercise or improve time-trial performance in highly trained cyclists, despite increasing plasma [nitrate] and [nitrite].

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Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Louise M. Burke

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.

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Colin R. Carriker, Christine M. Mermier, Trisha A. VanDusseldorp, Kelly E. Johnson, Nicholas M. Beltz, Roger A. Vaughan, James J. McCormick, Nathan H. Cole, Christopher C. Witt and Ann L. Gibson

Reduced partial pressure of oxygen impairs exercise performance at altitude. Acute nitrate supplementation, at sea level, may reduce oxygen cost during submaximal exercise in hypobaric hypoxia. Therefore, we investigated the metabolic response during exercise at altitude following acute nitrate consumption. Ten well-trained (61.0 ± 7.4 ml/kg/min) males (age 28 ± 7 yr) completed 3 experimental trials (T1, T2, T3). T1 included baseline demographics, a maximal aerobic capacity test (VO2max) and five submaximal intensity cycling determination bouts at an elevation of 1600 m. A 4-day dietary washout, minimizing consumption of nitrate-rich foods, preceded T2 and T3. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover fashion, subjects consumed either a nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (PL) or ~12.8 mmol nitrate rich (NR) beverage 2.5 hr before T2 and T3. Exercise at 3500 m (T2 and T3) via hypobaric hypoxia consisted of a 5-min warm-up (25% of normobaric (VO2max) and four 5-min cycling bouts (40, 50, 60, 70% of normobaric VO2max) each separated by a 4-min rest period. Cycling RPM and watts for each submaximal bout during T2 and T3 were determined during T1. Preexercise plasma nitrite was elevated following NR consumption compared with PL (1.4 ± 1.2 and 0.7 ± 0.3 uM respectively; p < .05). There was no difference in oxygen consumption (−0.5 ± 1.8, 0.1 ± 1.7, 0.7 ± 2.1, and 1.0 ± 3.0 ml/kg/min) at any intensity (40, 50, 60, 70% of VO2max), respectively) between NR and PL. Further, respiratory exchange ratio, oxygen saturation, heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were not different at any submaximal intensity between NR and PL either. Blood lactate, however, was reduced following NR consumption compared with PL at 40 and 60% of VO2max (p < .0.05). Our findings suggest that acute nitrate supplementation before exercise at 3500 m does not reduce oxygen cost but may reduce blood lactate accumulation at lower intensity workloads.

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Joseph A. McQuillan, Deborah K. Dulson, Paul B. Laursen and Andrew E. Kilding

We aimed to compare the effects of two different dosing durations of dietary nitrate (NO3 -) supplementation on 1 and 4 km cycling time-trial performance in highly trained cyclists. In a double-blind crossover-design, nine highly trained cyclists ingested 140ml of NO3 --rich beetroot juice containing ~8.0mmol [NO3 -], or placebo, for seven days. Participants completed a range of laboratory-based trials to quantify physiological and perceptual responses and cycling performance: time-trials on day 3 and 6 (4km) and on day 4 and 7 (1km) of the supplementation period. Relative to placebo, effects following 3- and 4-days of NO3 - supplementation were unclear for 4 (-0.8; 95% CL, ± 2.8%, p = .54) and likely harmful for 1km (-1.9; ± 2.5% CL, p = .17) time-trial mean power. Effects following 6- and 7-days of NO3 - supplementation resulted in unclear effects for 4 (0.1; ± 2.2% CL, p = .93) and 1km (-0.9; ± 2.6%CL, p = .51) time-trial mean power. Relative to placebo, effects for 40, 50, and 60% peak power output were unclear for economy at days 3 and 6 of NO3 - supplementation (p > .05). Dietary NO3 - supplementation appears to be detrimental to 1km time-trial performance in highly trained cyclists after 4-days. While, extending NO3 - dosing to ≥ 6-days reduced the magnitude of harm in both distances, overall performance in short duration cycling time-trials did not improve relative to placebo.

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Joseph A. McQuillan, Deborah K. Dulson, Paul B. Laursen and Andrew E. Kilding

Purpose:

To determine the effect of dietary nitrate (NO3 ) supplementation on physiology and performance in well-trained cyclists after 6–8 d of NO3 supplementation.

Methods:

Eight competitive male cyclists (mean ± SD age 26 ± 8 y, body mass 76.7 ± 6.9 kg, VO2peak 63 ± 4 mL · kg–1 · min–1) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-design study in which participants ingested 70 mL of beetroot juice containing ~4 mmol NO3 (NIT) or a NO3 -depleted placebo (PLA), each for 8 d. Replicating pretreatment measures, participants undertook an incremental ramp assessment to determine VO2peak and first (VT1) and second (VT2) ventilatory thresholds on d 6 (NIT6 and PLA6), moderate-intensity cycling economy on d 7 (NIT7 and PLA7), and a 4-km time trial (TT) on d 8 (NIT8 and PLA8).

Results:

Relative to PLA, 6 d of NIT supplementation produced unclear effects for VO2peak (mean ± 95% confidence limit: 1.8% ± 5.5%) and VT1 (3.7% ± 12.3%) and trivial effects for both VT2 (–1.0% ± 3.0%) and exercise economy on d 7 (–1.0% ± 1.6%). However, effects for TT performance time (–0.7% ± 0.9%) and power (2.4% ± 2.5%) on d 8 were likely beneficial.

Conclusions:

Despite mostly unclear outcomes for standard physiological determinants of performance, 8 d of NO3 supplementation resulted in likely beneficial improvements to 4-km TT performance in well-trained male endurance cyclists.