Tag Archives: health benefits

Beet Root Juice… Fitness in a glass?

We know you are wild about Beet Root Juice, so we figured we would give you some more information about it. This post was borrowed from a recent New York Times article called “Looking for Fitness in a Glass of Juice.”

Beetroot juice, as the name implies, is created from the knotty parts of a beet. Who first imagined that liquefying beetroots might improve physical performance is unknown. But he or she appears to have been on to something. In a series of studies in the past two years, beetroot juice has been found to enhance certain types of athletic performance. In a representative study published last year, for instance, cyclists who ingested half a liter of beetroot juice before a 2.5-mile or a 10-mile time trial were almost 3 percent faster than when they rode unjuiced. They also produced more power with each pedal stroke.

Since in the world of elite sports a 3 percent improvement in performance is enormous, athletes quickly embraced the juice as news of the studies spread. Today, beetroot juice is reportedly a staple among British track and field athletes at the Olympics, including Mo Farah, who won the gold medal this week in the men’s 10-kilometer race, and among several of the United States Olympic marathon runners, many other nations’ runners, swimmers, rowers and cyclists, and quite a few Olympic soccer players.

Although it isn’t clear just how beetroot juice improves performance, it seems to improve blood and oxygen flow to muscles, says Andrew Jones, a professor of applied physiology at the University of Exeter in England, who’s led many of the studies of beetroot juice and athletic performance. It also prompts muscles to use that augmented oxygen more efficiently. “There is a lower oxygen cost” to exercise when someone is drinking beetroot juice, he says. That may be one reason it allowed volunteers who drank it for a week beforehand to walk or run for significantly longer on a treadmill than those who had drunk a placebo juice.

But that advantage may not exist in all types of exercise, other new research suggests. A cautionary study published last month found that a single dose of beetroot juice ingested several hours before a one-hour cycling time trial did not noticeably improve the riders’ performance.

What that finding suggests, says Naomi Cermak, a researcher at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands who led the study, is that beetroot juice, while effective at improving performance in short, extremely strenuous bouts of exercise, may have less effect during longer, relatively less intense types of exertion. In other words, the juice might help an 800-meter runner but perhaps not a marathoner.

Based on the currently available science, Dr. Cermak adds, it’s also likely that benefits will be most evident in someone who drinks the juice regularly, not someone who tries it for the first time on the day of a race.

So if you wish to experiment with beetroot as a performance booster, begin at least a week before a race or strenuous event. In many experiments, volunteers drank a half-liter of the juice per day. (Some studies have used smaller, concentrated beetroot “shots.”) And be prepared for a period of acclimation. Beetroot juice is “an acquired taste,” says Dr. Jones.

Beet Root Juice... Is it "Fitness in a Glass?"

Beet Root Juice… Is it “Fitness in a Glass?”

Have you tried it? What did you think?



Benefits of Beet Juice

Beet Juice, Health Benefits

Beet Juice
Graphic from: http://www.cookingrecipesguide.org

Who knew Beet Juice had so much potential?

Posted on May 18, 2012 by 

An ever-growing number of products on the market claim to enhance athletic performance by manipulating various biological systems and functions. A relatively new group of supplements use certain nitrates to improve muscular endurance, and these nitrates – in addition to several other beneficial compounds – are present in high concentrations in beet juice.

How effective is beet juice at increasing endurance, and how does it work?

Role of Nitrates
The nitrates contained in beet juice are converted by the body into a vital gas called nitric oxide. This should not be confused with nitrous oxide, which is laughing gas. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced by the body and acts as a neurotransmitter, meaning that it carries messages from the brain. These messages involve making sure that increased amounts of blood and oxygen reach the areas of the body that need them most.

The way NO operates makes it particularly well-suited for use as an athletic supplement. Picture it like this, as “The Walking Ecyclopedia” suggests: If you were trying to force a large amount of water through a narrow tube using only your breath, you’d probably struggle to provide enough pressure. But if you switched out the narrow tube for a wider one, your job would be much easier.

This is essentially what nitric oxide does. The gas expands and relaxes the blood vessels to increase the amount of blood – and therefore the amount of oxygen and nutrients – that reach active muscles. In addition,  the nitrates in beet juice actually decrease the amount of oxygen your muscles need, helping them work more efficiently.

Benefits of Beet Juice
Several studies have been published since 2009, when the research on beet juice began in earnest, that illustrate a wide spectrum of potential applications. A recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise  tested the effects of beet juice on club-level competitive cyclists during time trials. After drinking the juice, the cyclists had a great power output with the same amount of effort, and were an average of 11 seconds faster. This study strongly supports benefits from beet root juice for endurance athletes.

Beet juice may also have uses for non-athletes who have difficulty carrying out even low-intensity activities like walking. Research published in 2010 in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that beet juice reduced the amount of oxygen test subjects needed to walk, and reduced the amount of effort required by 12 percent. These findings suggest that beet juice could be useful for older adults and other populations with conditions that limit everyday activities, although more research is needed to fully understand the effects.

Using Beet Juice
In the above-mentioned studies, the test subjects were given 16 fluid ounces of beet juice to achieve the documented results. As with many other aspects of personal fitness, it’s important to have realistic expectations. If you do use beet juice, you may get different results than you would from commercially available nitric oxide supplements. People with kidney problems or low calcium should talk to their doctor before drinking large amount of beet juice. Also, a harmless but somewhat startling side effect of drinking the juice in large quantities is red or pink urine, so don’t panic if you experience that.

Research continues to suggest that beet juice may provide the nitrates necessary to improve muscular endurance in both athletes and non-athletes whose activities are limited by various conditions.

Have you tried Beet Juice? Tell us what you think.

Borrowed from: http://www.livestrongfitness.com/blog/potential-benefits-of-beet-juice/