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Can beetroot juice enhance sports performance?

Beetroot contains a particularly high content of inorganic nitrate which has been found to have a positive effect on athletic performance. When consumed, nitrate is converted by the body to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide serves multiple important functions such as increasing blood flow, by acting as a vasodilator and providing the muscles with a greater supply of oxygen and nutrients. It also helps to clear away waste products from the working muscles.

Beetroot juice is an easy and convenient way to deliver a high dose of nitrate which may help to increase blood nitric oxide concentrations. It can be made at home using a standard kitchen juicer or purchased as ready-to-drink concentrated shots or powder forms by various companies.

Studies that have looked at supplementation with beetroot juice found improvements in cardiorespiratory endurances in athletes including an increase in time to exhaustion at submaximal intensities and improved performance at anaerobic threshold intensities.

However, there is still work to be done to determine the recommended timing and dosage of beetroot supplementation in athletes.