Thursday, November 10, 2022

Beet Root Juice

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Science & Society, Behavior

Ed Hessler

I don't attempt to keep up with food supplements but here is one that caught my eye and which is not new. It is about athletes, some of whom "have been long experimenting with supplements to boost their performance."

I'd never heard of beetroots being used as a supplement and perhaps you hadn't either.  The blurb about the film notes that "the juice from beets are packed with nitrates, that some scientists and nutritionists believe could help and athlete win their competition?" So can it make us somewhat like "The Six Million Dollar Man... stronger and faster?"

Here is the BBC Reel video (8 m 10 m).

And here is a review from PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine. It includes a table with a classification of nutritional supplements, based on performance effects, a discussion of why it used and what happens when it is ingested (with an illustration), summary of studies (Table), effects (acute, chronic, performance, in combination with other supplements), dosage, practical considerations, and conclusions of which there are four.

 At the end the authors wrote, "We cannot assert that the combination of beetroot juice with other supplements has a positive or negative effect on cardiorespiratory endurance. It is possible that the effects of supplementation with beetroot juice can be undermined by interaction with other supplements such as caffeine. More work is needed to confirm the results of these investigations."

And here is one more study on the "effects of a single dose of beetroot juice on cycling time trial male triathletes." There is a box at the top of the paper with summaries of the background, methods, results, and conclusion.

I couldn't help but consider taking the results of such carefully controlled studies to the road where the athletes themselves or the coaches would administer the drinking of the juice where the conditions would not be so carefully controlled. This is why such carefully designed investigations have to be done in order to determine whether there is/is not a measurable effect.

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