Effects of the use of beet in physical exercise.


        The beet is a vegetable rich in Nitric Oxide (NO), which can be created from endogenous way also by supplementation with sodium nitrate and / or the plant (this last more interesting) (Lundberg & COVONI, 2004 ).

        Some studies have reported effects from supplementation of NO in the practice of physical activity. Larsen et al., (2007) did a project with triathlon and cycling practitioners and noted that there was also a reduction in VO2 during submaximal exercise and significantly increased muscle efficiency. Larsen et al., (2010), evaluating sedentary individual aerobic activity observed reduction of VO2 max, and in relation to blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio and lactate had no effect, he reports a trend to increased time to exhaustion despite the reduction of VO2.

       The same authors in 2011 reported that supplementation with NO increases mitochondrial function and oxygen consumption in the whole body during exercise.

Relationship beet and exercise

       Because of its concentration of NO, beet began to be used as a form of supplementation in various sports. Typically used in this order in juice form, we report some results in the literature that suggest its effects.

       In trained cyclists were reported VO2 reduction results for the year and increased performance in tests of 10 km (CERMAK, Gibala and van Loon, 2012). In another study, comparisons were made also cyclists where two compounds were supplemented with a low concentration of nitrates and one with a high concentration. Supplementation with rich compound nitrate showed significant improvements in performance on tests of 4 and 16km (Lansley et al., 2010).

       Bond, Morton and Braakhuis (2012) used in their study supplementation 500ml of beetroot juice for six days in Rowers. After this brief period practitioners showed a significant reduction in time to reach the prescribed distance. The supplementation period extended to 15 days did not increase compared to 6 days, thus not being of great importance, however, without causing decreases (Vanhatalo et al., 2011).

       Interest in the subject has made Mascchelein et al. (2012), do their experiment that simulated height 5000 meters. The idea came from the beginning of any  changes occurring in the body that uncomfortable situation, such as hypoxia (lack of muscle oxygen). The results showed that volunteers who were supplemented had less trouble with the conditions, tolerance similar effort to the state of normoxia (normal muscle oxygen state).

What are the mechanisms for the effects of nitrates on exercise?

       The reasons are not yet clear for a considerable improvement in cardiorespiratory and muscular performance after supplementation with nitrate, it is speculated some hypotheses. The first would be a function of SERCA (sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium-ATPase) as responsible for the reduction of ATP consumption in force production during exercise. NO reduce the activity of SERCA enabling such results, however, has not been fully affirmed this hypothesis and needs further study (Ferreira & BEHNKE, 2011).

It appears that the supplementation of nitric oxide through the beet juice has had positive effects for high intensities, and may become a good natural alternative for increased performance.