Supplementation with nitrates may support performance in demanding sports such as running, according to findings from a study recently published in the Applied Sciences Journal (DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030977).
In the randomised, double-blind crossover study, 24 long-distance healthy adult runners—14 males and 10 females aged 28 to 47 years—consumed 140 mL of either a nitrate-rich (BJ) or nitrate-depleted (PL) beetroot juice 2.5 hours prior running a 2 km time trial (TT)—with an intermediate washout period of 7 days. Participants’ blood lactate (BLac) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured within 3 minutes of exercise completion.
The results showed that BJ supplementation increased TT completion rate compared to the PL group, particularly for males. There were no changes in BLac levels with either juice. General RPE was lower in the BJ groups, whilst muscular RPE was higher in males vs females.
Researchers concluded, "these findings support the ergogenic potential of acute BJ supplementation to improve middle distance running performance in male and female subjects and suggest that this improvement might be linked to a reduction in RPE."
Nitrate-rich beetroot juice may be effective in improving running performance; however, its distinct taste might act as a barrier for consumers, making supplementation a more appealing way to up nitrate intake.