Beetroot Juice for Endurance?

Beetroot Juice for Endurance?

Beet Juice for Endurance

A natural way to enhance an athletes endurance may be the result of two studies done at Exeter University. The 15 men in the study showed increases in their endurance after drinking beetroot juice. Stephen Bailey and colleagues found that by drinking about a half a quart of beetroot juice before starting, cyclists had up to a 20% increase in stamina compared to those who drank a blackcurrant juice placebo.

Bailey and colleagues found that cyclists to used less oxygen than would normally be required when they drank beetroot juice. The team calculated how much energy a muscle needed to contract when they studied the participants under a scanner.

Bailey said, “The beetroot juice was effective even without any additional training. It reduces the energy requirements on your muscles so you can last longer.”

Because beetroot juice has high levels of nitrates, Bailey thinks that this is the cause of the athletes increased performance.

Scientists are not exactly sure how nitrates affect endurance, but increases in nitric oxide, a byproduct of nitrates, are suspected to allow the muscles to work with less oxygen. Some scientists also think that foods like spinach and other nitrate rich foods may have the same results.

Don’t rush out and start drinking beetroot juice thinking you will become an elite athlete. Only highly trained athletes are likely to notice any real increases in performance, but if you are looking for a 1 -2 % edge, beetroot juice may be the answer.  Several experts do think that drinking beetroot juice could allow the average athlete to train more by allowing the body to tolerate more exercise.

Like everything in life, there can be too much of a good thing. Side effects of drinking too much beetroot juice include, purple urine, diarrhea or abdominal cramps. Don’t let that stop you from drinking beetroot juice in moderation since, beetroot juice has been when to lower blood pressure in several studies done in the US and Britain.

5 Responses to “Beetroot Juice for Endurance?”

  1. carson


    I ll ge that before my next gym session. Hope it works out. Thanks for the hint.

  2. Jim


    Ya, but how does it taste? Hopefully good enough to tolerate the side effects.

  3. River


    I agree with Jim. I am a little worried about the taste. I wonder if there is any detriment to mixing the beetroot juice with something else like celery, in order to make it easier to drink. I think raw juicing is great and can help in many areas of health, not just athletics. I’m glad Jon included “in moderation.” Good article. Thanks Jon.

  4. jonathan


    Would you happen to have a link to the original article for this study? I’m curious to read it.

  5. Jon


    I don’t recall anymore. It was probably in a journal I got at the University. Don’t remember though, sorry.

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