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Kristin L. Jonvik, Jan-Willem van Dijk, Joan M.G. Senden, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Lex B. Verdijk

Over the past decade, the use of dietary nitrate to enhance performance has received increased attention, with possible ergogenic effects being caused by the reduction of dietary nitrate into nitrite and nitric oxide ( Lundberg et al., 2008 ). Nitric oxide plays a key role in skeletal muscle

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Pablo Jodra, Raúl Domínguez, Antonio J. Sánchez-Oliver, Pablo Veiga-Herreros, and Stephen J. Bailey

recently published a classification for nutritional supplements based on the scientific evidence to support their ergogenic efficacy. 1 One dietary supplement classified as having a high level of scientific evidence to support an ergogenic effect was inorganic nitrate (NO 3 − ). The ergogenic effects of

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Philippe Richard, Lymperis P. Koziris, Mathieu Charbonneau, Catherine Naulleau, Jonathan Tremblay, and François Billaut

-skating competitions 4 highlight the importance of efficient recovery for successful performances. Dietary nitrate consumption has become progressively more popular among athletes. 5 Nitrate (NO 3 − ) supplementation via beetroot juice or as salt (NaNO 3 − ) increases nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. NO is a

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Cindy M.T. van der Avoort, Luc J.C. van Loon, Lex B. Verdijk, Paul P.C. Poyck, Dick T.J. Thijssen, and Maria T.E. Hopman

molecule that can modulate many processes crucial to health and exercise tolerance, such as regulation of blood flow and muscle contractility ( Cooper & Giulivi, 2007 ; Stamler & Meissner, 2001 ). As a consequence, there has been increased interest in the role of dietary nitrate ( NO 3 − ), as a

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Naomi M. Cermak, Peter Res, Rudi Stinkens, Jon O. Lundberg, Martin J. Gibala, and Luc J.C. van Loon


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.


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.


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).


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.

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Peter Peeling, Gregory R. Cox, Nicola Bullock, and Louise M. Burke

We assessed the ingestion of a beetroot juice supplement (BR) on 4-min laboratory-based kayak performance in national level male (n = 6) athletes (Study A), and on 500 m on-water kayak time-trial (TT) performance in international level female (n = 5) athletes (Study B). In Study A, participants completed three laboratory-based sessions on a kayak ergometer, including a 7 × 4 min step test, and two 4 min maximal effort performance trials. Two and a half hours before the warm-up of each 4 min performance trial, athletes received either a 70 ml BR shot containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). The distance covered over the 4 min TT was not different between conditions; however, the average VO2 over the 4 min period was significantly lower in BR (p = .04), resulting in an improved exercise economy (p = .05). In Study B, participants completed two field-based 500 m TTs, separated by 4 days. Two hours before each trial, athletes received either two 70 ml BR shots containing ~9.6 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). BR supplementation significantly enhanced TT performance by 1.7% (p = .01). Our results show that in national-level male kayak athletes, commercially available BR shots (70 ml) containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate improved exercise economy during laboratory-based tasks predominantly reliant on the aerobic energy system. Furthermore, greater volumes of BR (140 ml; ~9.6 mmol nitrate) provided to international-level female kayak athletes resulted in enhancements to TT performance in the field.

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Kristin E. MacLeod, Sean F. Nugent, Susan I. Barr, Michael S. Koehle, Benjamin C. Sporer, and Martin J. MacInnis

Beetroot juice (BR) has been shown to lower the oxygen cost of exercise in normoxia and may have similar effects in hypoxia. We investigated the effect of BR on steady-state exercise economy and 10-km time trial (TT) performance in normoxia and moderate hypoxia (simulated altitude: ~2500 m). Eleven trained male cyclists (VO2peak ≥ 60 ml·kg-1·min-1) completed four exercise trials. Two hours before exercise, subjects consumed 70 mL BR (~6 mmol nitrate) or placebo (nitrate-depleted BR) in a randomized, double-blind manner. Subjects then completed a 15-min self-selected cycling warm-up, a 15-min steady-state exercise bout at 50% maximum power output, and a 10-km time trial (TT) in either normoxia or hypoxia. Environmental conditions were randomized and single-blind. BR supplementation increased plasma nitrate concentration and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide relative to PL (p < .05 for both comparisons). Economy at 50% power output was similar in hypoxic and normoxic conditions (p > .05), but mean power output was greater in the normoxic TT relative to the hypoxic TT (p < .05). BR did not affect economy, steady-state SpO2, mean power output, or 10-km TT completion time relative to placebo in either normoxia or hypoxia (p > .05 in all comparisons). In conclusion, BR did not lower the oxygen cost of steady-state exercise or improve exercise performance in normoxia or hypoxia in a small sample of well-trained male cyclists.

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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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Kristin L. Jonvik, Jean Nyakayiru, Jan-Willem van Dijk, Floris C. Wardenaar, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Lex B. Verdijk

Although beetroot juice, as a nitrate carrier, is a popular ergogenic supplement among athletes, nitrate is consumed through the regular diet as well. We aimed to assess the habitual dietary nitrate intake and identify the main contributing food sources in a large group of highly trained athletes. Dutch highly trained athletes (226 women and 327 men) completed 2–4 web-based 24-hr dietary recalls and questionnaires within a 2- to 4-week period. The nitrate content of food products and food groups was determined systematically based on values found in regulatory reports and scientific literature. These were then used to calculate each athlete’s dietary nitrate intake from the web-based recalls. The median[IQR] habitual nitrate intake was 106[75–170] mg/d (range 19–525 mg/d). Nitrate intake correlated with energy intake (ρ = 0.28, p < .001), and strongly correlated with vegetable intake (ρ = 0.78, p < .001). In accordance, most of the dietary nitrate was consumed through vegetables, potatoes and fruit, accounting for 74% of total nitrate intake, with lettuce and spinach contributing most. When corrected for energy intake, nitrate intake was substantially higher in female vs male athletes (12.8[9.2–20.0] vs 9.4[6.2–13.8] mg/MJ; p < .001). This difference was attributed to the higher vegetable intake in female vs male athletes (150[88–236] vs 114[61–183] g/d; p < .001). In conclusion, median daily intake of dietary nitrate in highly trained athletes was 106 mg, with large interindividual variation. Dietary nitrate intake was strongly associated with the intake of vegetables. Increasing the intake of nitrate-rich vegetables in the diet might serve as an alternative strategy for nitrate supplementation.

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Edgar J. Gallardo and Andrew R. Coggan

Numerous studies in recent years have investigated the effects of dietary nitrate (NO 3 − ) on the physiological responses to, and/or performance during, exercise. This interest stems from the fact that dietary NO 3 − is an important source of nitric oxide (NO) via the “reverse” NO 3 −  → nitrite