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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2017 Jul 1;313(1):H59-H65. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00163.2017. Epub 2017 May 5.

Acute beetroot juice supplementation on sympathetic nerve activity: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study.

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Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada; and.
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada; and
Toronto General Research Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Acute dietary nitrate ([Formula: see text]) supplementation reduces resting blood pressure in healthy normotensives. This response has been attributed to increased nitric oxide bioavailability and peripheral vasodilation, although nitric oxide also tonically inhibits central sympathetic outflow. We hypothesized that acute dietary [Formula: see text] supplementation using beetroot (BR) juice would reduce blood pressure and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) at rest and during exercise. Fourteen participants (7 men and 7 women, age: 25 ± 10 yr) underwent blood pressure and MSNA measurements before and after (165-180 min) ingestion of 70ml high-[Formula: see text] (~6.4 mmol [Formula: see text]) BR or [Formula: see text]-depleted BR placebo (PL; ~0.0055 mmol [Formula: see text]) in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Blood pressure and MSNA were also collected during 2 min of static handgrip (30% maximal voluntary contraction). The changes in resting MSNA burst frequency (-3 ± 5 vs. 3 ± 4 bursts/min, P = 0.001) and burst incidence (-4 ± 7 vs. 4 ± 5 bursts/100 heart beats, P = 0.002) were lower after BR versus PL, whereas systolic blood pressure (-1 ± 5 vs. 2 ± 5 mmHg, P = 0.30) and diastolic blood pressure (4 ± 5 vs. 5 ± 7 mmHg, P = 0.68) as well as spontaneous arterial sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity (P = 0.95) were not different. During static handgrip, the change in MSNA burst incidence (1 ± 8 vs. 8 ± 9 bursts/100 heart beats, P = 0.04) was lower after BR versus PL, whereas MSNA burst frequency (6 ± 6 vs. 11 ± 10 bursts/min, P = 0.11) as well as systolic blood pressure (11 ± 7 vs. 12 ± 8 mmHg, P = 0.94) and diastolic blood pressure (11 ± 4 vs. 11 ± 4 mmHg, P = 0.60) were not different. Collectively, these data provide proof of principle that acute BR supplementation can decrease central sympathetic outflow at rest and during exercise. Dietary [Formula: see text] supplementation may represent a novel intervention to target exaggerated sympathetic outflow in clinical populations.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The hemodynamic benefits of dietary nitrate supplementation have been attributed to nitric oxide-mediated peripheral vasodilation. Here, we provide proof of concept that acute dietary nitrate supplementation using beetroot juice can decrease muscle sympathetic outflow at rest and during exercise in a normotensive population. These results have applications for targeting central sympathetic overactivation in disease.


blood pressure; dietary nitrate; exercise; muscle sympathetic nerve activity; sympathetic nervous system

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