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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Dec;46(12):2326-34. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000364.

Beetroot juice supplementation does not improve performance of elite 1500-m runners.

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Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, CANADA.



Dietary nitrate supplementation with beetroot juice (BR) has received widespread attention as an ergogenic aid. However, recent evidence in well-trained cyclists has not consistently reported improved cycling economy or performance. The present study examined the effects of acute and chronic BR supplementation on V˙O2 during submaximal running and 1500-m time trial (TT) performance of elite distance runners.


Eight male 1500-m runners (V˙O2peak, 80 ± 5 mL·kg·min; 1500-m personal best, 3:56 ± 9 s) participated in this study. In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, subjects supplemented with BR or a nitrate-free BR placebo (PL) for 8 d separated by at least 1 wk. On days 1 (acute) and 8 (chronic), subjects ingested 210 mL of BR (19.5-mmol nitrate) or PL and completed a submaximal treadmill run and 1500-m TT on an indoor 200-m track.


Plasma nitrate increased from 37 ± 15 to 615 ± 151 μM (acute) and 870 ± 259 μM (chronic) after BR supplementation. There were no V˙O2 differences between conditions at 50%, 65%, and 80% V˙O2peak (acute PL, 4194 ± 90 mL·min; chronic PL, 4216 ± 95 mL·min; acute BR, 4192 ± 113 mL·min; chronic BR, 4299 ± 92 mL·min). The 1500-m TT was unaffected by acute or chronic BR supplementation (acute PL, 4:10.4 min:s ± 2.5 s; chronic PL, 4:11.4 min:s ± 2.7 s; acute BR, 4:10.7 min:s ± 1.5 s; chronic BR, 4:10.5 min:s ± 2.2 s). However, two subjects improved their TT performance after acute (5.8 and 5.0 s) and chronic BR supplementation (7.0 and 0.5 s).


Acute and chronic BR supplementation did not reduce running V˙O2 or improve 1500-m TT performance of a group of elite distance runners, but two responders to BR were identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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