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.
MacLeod, Nugent, Koehle, and MacInnis are with the School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Barr is with the Dept. of Food Nutrition & Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Sporer is with the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Canada.