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Andy Jones Interview: Beetroot juice and exercise efficiency

In this brief but informative interview, UKA Athletics Conditioning Lead, John Kiely talks to Andy Jones, Chair of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter on his recent study into the affects of beetroot juice on exercise efficiency in humans.

  • Uploaded: 29.10.2009
  • Duration: 00:13:16
  • Views: 2364
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The beetroot study!

Andy was the lead researcher on, what has turned out to be, one of the most talked about sports science studies of the past 12 months.

Abstract

Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans.

Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, Blackwell JR, Dimenna FJ, Wilkerson DP, Tarr J, Benjamin N, Jones AM.

Exeter Univ., Sport and Health Sciences, St. Luke's Campus, Heavitree Rd., Exeter, EX1 2LU UK.

Pharmacological sodium nitrate supplementation has been reported to reduce the O2 cost of submaximal exercise in humans. In this study, we hypothesized that dietary supplementation with inorganic nitrate in the form of beetroot juice (BR) would reduce the O2 cost of submaximal exercise and enhance the tolerance to high-intensity exercise. In a double-blind, placebo (PL)-controlled, crossover study, eight men (aged 19-38 yr) consumed 500 ml/day of either BR (containing 11.2 +/- 0.6 mM of nitrate) or blackcurrant cordial (as a PL, with negligible nitrate content) for 6 consecutive days and completed a series of "step" moderate-intensity and severe-intensity exercise tests on the last 3 days. On days 4-6, plasma nitrite concentration was significantly greater following dietary nitrate supplementation compared with PL (BR: 273 +/- 44 vs. PL: 140 +/- 50 nM; P < 0.05), and systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced (BR: 124 +/- 2 vs. PL: 132 +/- 5 mmHg; P < 0.01). During moderate exercise, nitrate supplementation reduced muscle fractional O2 extraction (as estimated using near-infrared spectroscopy). The gain of the increase in pulmonary O2 uptake following the onset of moderate exercise was reduced by 19% in the BR condition (BR: 8.6 +/- 0.7 vs. PL: 10.8 +/- 1.6 ml.min(-1).W(-1); P < 0.05). During severe exercise, the O2 uptake slow component was reduced (BR: 0.57 +/- 0.20 vs. PL: 0.74 +/- 0.24 l/min; P < 0.05), and the time-to-exhaustion was extended (BR: 675 +/- 203 vs. PL: 583 +/- 145 s; P < 0.05). The reduced O2 cost of exercise following increased dietary nitrate intake has important implications for our understanding of the factors that regulate mitochondrial respiration and muscle contractile energetics in humans.

Further Reading

You can read more about the study in the popular press here:

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by Ken Moncrieff on 05/11/2009 at 12:53 AM

    Very interesting research and certainly it links with historical basic advice and from this initial but well controlled study it should not be ignored especially as cost wise and general side effects appear to be limited.
    Off to see what it actually tastes like now.

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