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Beetroot Juice Increases Stamina During Exercise

New scientific study shows increased nitrate levels help athletes endure longer.

Forget caffeine and high-energy drinks, athletes could soon be drinking beetroot juice to boost their sporting endurance. Athletes were able to exercise for 16 per cent longer, pushing past their previous endurance limits with the aide of beetroot juice.

Scientists based at the University of Exeter yesterday published results of their beetroot study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The study showed that just 500ml of beetroot juice a day prevented test subjects from tiring as quickly, giving them the energy to exercise longer and harder than before.

The study is the first of its kind to examine the effect of nitrate-rich foods on endurance levels during exercise. The increased nitrate levels present in beetroot reduce the intake of oxygen having the effect of making exercise less tiring.

The study sample were given beetroot juice twice a day and asked to do increasingly challenging cycling exercises to monitor their work rate. When cycling at a steady and comfortable pace, the men in the sample used less oxygen after taking on beetroot juice, which allowed the cyclists to do the same amount of work whilst expending less energy.

In an endurance test to see how far the trialists could cycle before they stopped from exhaustion, the beetroot juice allowed an additional 92 seconds on average of pedal power. The remarkable effect of the beetroot juice would allow athletes to either work at the same rate for longer, or work harder to cover the same distance in a shorter time.

Professor Andy Jones said that he was amazed by the results, particularly given that no other method has been found to date to rival the results of beetroot juice, including continuous training. “I am sure professional and amateur athletes will be interested in the results of this research,” Dr Jones said.

As well as assisting with sporting excellence, Dr Jones plans to use the results of take the study further to see if dietary supplements can help people who suffer from poor fitness to improve their normal everyday lives.

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