It’s pretty much common knowledge that beetroot can increase endurance and improve performance. Beetroot supplements are a-plenty and for good reason - most work!
Let’s dig a little deeper…
Beetroot could improve performance.
One of the main benefits of beetroot, which has received incredible attention, is its ability to improve exercise performance.
The explanation for beetroot's exercise advantages is due to its high nitrate levels. Nitrates are an important natural substance that helps the body during high-intensity exercise.
Nitrates, which are found in beets and some fruits like rhubarb, as well as green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage, are transformed into nitric oxide when there is a lack of oxygen. Nitric oxide is thought to be a vital molecule for performance since it is known to have several essential roles in metabolic and vascular management.
Any event that causes the body's oxygen levels to drop depends on nitric oxide to keep it running smoothly. As a result, the oxygen cost of exercise may be lowered, allowing athletes to perform harder with less effort.
What does research say?
Several studies have investigated the effects of beetroot on performance and endurance. The majority of these pieces of research have involved bikers. The evidence for beetroot's performance-enhancing effects is so compelling that organizations such as the Australian Institute for Sport and the American College of Sports Medicine have included it in systems that categorize supplements based on the level of scientific evidence supporting their performance benefits.
In one trial, trained cyclists were given 500 mL of beetroot juice (equivalent to 6.2 mmol of nitrate) 2.5 hours before training (1). They next did two time trials, a 4km as well as a 16km bike.
There was a 2.8 percent improvement in time in the 4 km time trials and a 2.7 percent improvement in time in the 16 km time trials.
What's intriguing is that the cyclists improved their power production by 7–11% while experiencing no rise in the oxygen economy of their workout. Simply put, they all showed increasing economic activity. The beetroot also elevated plasma nitrite levels before exercise. It needs to be noted that the resting systolic blood pressure decreased while the diastolic blood pressure remained the same.
According to a study conducted by Exeter University, athletes who consumed beetroot juice even before a race reduced their running time by 2%. This study also involved a control group that ingested beetroot juice with the nitrates eliminated to compare findings. This group was shown to be slower than individuals who drank pure beetroot juice (2).
Furthermore, research indicates that beetroot juice can boost stamina and energy generation in athletes performing submaximal-intensity exercise.
Cerus Performance has taken beetroot a step further in our Flow product. Joining beetroot is arjuna, ashwagandha, Rhodiola and cayenne. This blend, all ingredients working in conjunction has been proven to increase performance. We conducted some third-party VO2 Max testing and ALL five athletes increased work capacity while on Flow. So, while beetroot is a must-have, it can be made even more powerful with complementary herbs and barks.
Lansley, KE, Winyard, Paul G., Bailey, Stephen J., Vanhatalo, Annie, Wilkerson, Daryl P., Blackwell, Jamie R., Gilchrist M., Benjamin, Nigel, and Jones, Andrew M. Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011; 43(6): 1125-1131.