Beetroot juice improves intermittent exercise and cognitive performance

More benefits from beetroot juice? Let's explore some recent findings by Professor Andrew Jones and his team from the University of Exeter in the UK.

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What does the paper say?

In a paper just published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology by Professor Andrew Jones, the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation (beet root juice) on repeated sprint performance and cognitive function. The findings suggest that beetroot juice can enhance repeated sprint performance and may attenuate the decline in cognitive function (and specifically reaction time) that may occur during prolonged intermittent exercise. Although the study did not directly study team sports performance, it is clear that these findings might be highly relevant for such sports, as well as other sports with of an intermittent nature.

The findings suggest that beetroot juice can enhance repeated sprint performance and may attenuate the decline in cognitive function

Nitrates

Dietary nitrate is growing in popularity as a sports nutrition supplement. A lot has been written about beetroot juice (with nitrates as the active compound) and its effects on performance. Nitrate is present in numerous foodstuffs and is abundant in green leafy vegetables and beetroot. Following ingestion, nitrate is converted in the body to nitrite and stored and circulated in the blood. In conditions of low oxygen availability, nitrite can be converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to play a number of important roles in the regulation of blood flow and metabolism. Studies have shown that dietary nitrate supplementation increases the concentration of nitrite in the blood and reduces resting blood pressure. It has also been shown that nitrate supplementation can reduce the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise and can, in some circumstances, enhance exercise tolerance and performance. The performance benefits are particularly seen during all-out exercise lasting 5-30 min.


The performance benefits are particularly seen during all-out exercise lasting 5-30 min.

The new study