Beet Personal Best

Beetroot increases nitric oxide and performance

Beet Personal Best. Healthy Living Magazine

Beet Personal Best. Healthy Living Magazine

We all want more energy to enjoy working out. This often means consuming stimulants in the traditional sense of ingredients associated with energy drinks and shots that are part of the worldwide multi-billion dollar energy drink (ED) industry. The contingent of energizing ingredients typically includes caffeine, taurine, B vitamins, ginseng and glucuronolactone. These enhance the caffeine effect. And, when properly formulated, drinks containing them work (see sidebar).

Beets Boost Sports Performance

The biological activity of red beetroot (Beta vulgaris rubra) is a source of dietary nitrate: beetroot ingestion provides a means of increasing nitric oxide (NO) availability, short bursts of which in the human body dilate and relax vessels. NO could prevent and manage pathologies associated with its diminished bioavailability (notably hypertension). Nitrate ingestion also improves exercise performance; however, its ingestion is linked to adverse health effects except when consumed in the form of vegetables.

Read: Beet Beats

The purpose of one study was to determine whether whole beetroot consumption, as a means for increasing nitrate intake, improved endurance exercise performance. 11 recreationally fit men and women underwent two 5-km treadmill time trials 75 minutes after consuming baked beetroot and 75 minutes after consuming cranberry relish as a placebo.

“Mean running velocity during the 5-km run tended to be faster after beetroot consumption. Consumption of nitrate-rich, whole beetroot improves running performance in healthy adults.”

A study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism showed positive effects on sports performance when 12 male cyclists ingested concentrated beetroot juice or a placebo (nitrate-depleted beetroot juice) for 6 days. Six days of nitrate supplementation reduced VO 2 during submaximal exercise and “improved time-trial performance.”

Different Energizer

Precharge from Novaforme offers athletes a different preworkout sport energy drink, a well thought out blend of stimulants with other physiological dimensions: endothelial relaxation, antioxidant capacity anti-aging and mental focus.

Read: Foods For Gorgeous Bodies

Do energy drinks work?

Studies suggest that energy drinks boost core strength and oxygen capacity. In a crossover study (separated by seven days), 15 physically active college-aged students were given a commercially available energy drink or non-caffeinated placebo 60-minutes prior to exercise. The exercise consisted of three sets of bench press conducted to failure on each set with one minute of rest between each set. Energy drinkers “significantly increased total bench press repetitions over three sets (approximately 6% more repetitions completed)…”

In a leg press study, a commercially available energy drink given to physically active male and female participants 45 minutes prior to exercise “resulted in a significant increase in leg press total lifting volume (12% increase as compared to a carbohydrate placebo)…” but had no effect on the bench press total lifting volume.

A study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine indicated that an energy matrix consisting of caffeine, taurine and glucoronolactone consumed 10-min prior to a workout resulted in an 11.9% improvement in the number of repetitions performed during 4 sets of the squat or bench press exercise. In addition, the average power output for the workout was significantly higher for subjects consuming the energy drink compared to subjects consuming the placebo.

One review concludes that consumed 45 to 60 minutes prior to anaerobic/resistance exercise, EDs “may improve upper- and lower-body total lifting volume.”

Boost Aerobic Capacity

Novaforme put together its pre-workout energy drink PreCharge™ combining beet roots to produce artery-dilating nitric oxide with caffeine from four herbal sources including guarana (Paullina cupana) and coffee (Coffea robusta). The exotic fruit punch-flavored powder also supplies additional performance enhancers: UltraVin, a high potency grape polyphenol, for recovery; matcha and green teas for antioxidant effects; and methylcobalamin, the fast absorbed vitamin B12 for oxygenation and mental alertness.

Read: Why Aerobics Is For Men

One could look at these ingredients and also recognize that they are fundamentally anti-aging and stimulate mental alertness and focus. To further aid performance and antioxidant capacity, the drink is infused with free radical defending dark purple grape skin, pine bark extract, yerba mate, electrolyte-rich crystallized coconut water and organic coconut nectar as sweetener.

Guarana, a 4-times caffeine power

Guarana is a climbing plant native to the Amazon whose seeds contain approximately 4x the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. The mix of other chemicals contained in guarana seeds is thought to heighten the stimulant effects over caffeine. To gauge the stimulant effects of guarana, scientists studied how it altered the locomotor activity of the planarian species Dugesia tigrina and report evidence that guarana seeds “provide additional stimulation over caffeine alone.”
McLellan TM, Lieberman HR. Do energy drinks contain active components other than caffeine? Nutr Rev. 2012 Dec;70(12):730-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00525.x. Epub 2012 Nov 9. Murphy M, Eliot K, Heuertz RM, Weiss E. Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Apr;112(4):548-52. doi: 10.1016/j. jand.2011.12.002.
Cermak NM, Gibala MJ, van Loon LJ. Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km timetrial performance in trained cyclists. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Feb;22(1):64-71. Cermak NM, Gibala MJ, van Loon LJ. Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km timetrial performance in trained cyclists. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Feb;22(1):64-71.
Campbell B, Downing J, Kilpatrick M, La Bounty P, Elkins A, Williams S, dos Santos MG. The effects of a commercially available energy drink on resistance training and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42:S315.
Gonzalez AM, Walsh AL, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Hoffman JR. Effect of a pre-workout energy supplement on acute multi-joint resistance exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2011;10:261–266.
Moustakas D, Mezzio M, Rodriguez BR, Constable MA, Mulligan ME, Voura EB. Guarana provides additional stimulation over caffeine alone in the planarian model. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 16;10(4):e0123310. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123310. eCollection 2015.
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