Today, we find out that the putrid, soil tasting performance enhancing supplement is lying to us and that we may not be getting the performance boost we first thought…

Beetroot is therefore a dick. Well, some of them.

Beetroot juice is used by many athletes as they are very rich in dietary nitrate. Once this dietary nitrate is consumed ~2-3 hours before competition, it can enhance both endurance and sprint performances.

In a recent study, Gallardo and Coggan (2018) examined 24 commercially available beetroot based products from 21 companies to see if they have the effective dose of nitrate to enhance performance (~5mmol).

Firstly, why the speculation? Isn’t beetroot, beetroot?
Well, factors such as the growing conditions, variety of beet and preparation method used can considerably alter the nitrate content.

Knowing this, you’d expect some variability.

From the tested products, there was a 50-fold range in nitrate concentrations – more surprisingly, differences were even seen between the samples of the same product.

But, not all beetroot products within this sample were useless. Of the 24 products tested, only 5 consistently contained above the effective nitrate dose of 5mmol.

This is pretty interesting to know as it might explain why some fail to see improvements in their performance after supplementing…

For the small beetroot shots I’d recommend before competitions, the winners within this sample were ‘Beet It’ by James White Drinks (5.9-6.4mmol between two different 70mL products).

In terms of the bigger drinks with 500mL serving sizes, Beet It Beet Juice, Knudsen & Sons and Lakewood Organic offered 7.55, 12.5 and 18.7 mmol respectively.

i.e. the bigger juice will work great, you’ll just have to consume a larger serving size (in this sample anyway).

Lastly, Cherry Actives Beet it scored well and contained 3.9mmol (which is less than the effective dose), but was from a 30mL serving size…so have 1.5 servings?

Either way, hope this helps identify what sources of nitrates you may want to consume before you compete.

What we do know is that some work, some perhaps don’t, but they all taste like…

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