You may have noticed that beetroot juice is becoming more readily available in health shops and supermarkets recently. You may even have seen sports people drinking the Beet It shots before training or competing, in particular the Olympians at last years London olympics, where many were supplementing with the drink.
So why is it suddenly coming into the spotlight? This is all happening due to a special ingredient it contains and all the research thats been carried out on it as a sports supplement recently. So what is it about the foul tasting drink that is making it so desirable to sports people and gym goers all over the world. It’s all down to a key ingredient that makes beet root a potential super fuel and that is its naturally high levels of nitrate.
So why is Nitrate so special and what does it do in our bodies?
It’s been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce the oxidative stress on the body and from a sports perspective its been shown to reduce oxygen consumption during exercise.
According to Exeter University sports science research, it can reduce the energy cost of exercise in sub maximal work by between 5 and 10%. It has also been shown to increase the time to exhaustion by around 15-20%. These results are massive from a sports perspective where every second and every inch counts and can be the difference between winning and losing. This could be massive from a health perspective as well with many possible benefits.
With so many studies on the effects of nitrate in the body its amazing that scientists still don’t know the mechanics of how these amazing effects take place. Its also not yet known if there is a certain dose level where the effects begin to negate themselves. So it would make sense to still approach nitrate with a little caution until more is known. Sticking to supplementing with it from natural sources like beetroot would a sensible route!
Beetroot juice contains 1mg of Nitrate per 100ml. You can also buy concentrated shots of the stuff from Beet It. These 70ml shots contain 3mg of Nitrate and there is also a sports shot that contains 4mg in it’s 70ml shot. I have now personally been taking the Beet It sport shots for about 3 months. I have one shot the day before a game and another shot just over an hour before kick off. Personally I have found there to be a definite positive effect, I’ve noticed that I have more energy later on in games when I would normally start to tire. I have also noticed that the day after games I feel a lot better than I did before I started taking the shots, my legs feel nowhere near as tired as they used to. With the pile up of fixtures I have coming up for the last 2 and a half months of the season I hope this continues to be the case as I’m going to need all the help I can get!