Beetroot juice - Legal blood doping?
I have a friend who's a vegan and health nut who turned me on to the benefits of beetroot juice. He's an avid runner, and he told me once he started adding beet juice to his diet, he noticed a marked improvement in his stamina. Intrigued, I started adding canned beets and beet juice to my morning smoothie, and found that it did indeed help.
But don't take my word for it. Here's a few articles on the subject:
The Truth About Beetroot Juice
Beetroot juice may help beet your best - Telegraph
Reap the Benefits of Beetroot Juice
The section of the last article that might be most interesting to us mt. bikers is:
I've found I've bonked less and less on those longer rides since drinking beet juice every day. I encourage everyone to give it a shot!
Preliminary research suggested that consuming a large dose of pharmaceutical sodium nitrate (0.1 mmol/kg/day for three days) resulted in a lower oxygen cost during submaximal cycling.4 In practical terms, the nitrate supplementation improved exercise economy—the muscles used less oxygen for a given work rate. This finding was surprising and challenged a fundamental principle of human exercise physiology: During submaximal exercise, there’s a predictable oxygen cost for a given work rate. Furthermore, the increase in oxygen uptake is linearly related to the increase in work rate, and this relationship can’t be altered.
As a result, Bailey and other researchers in the United Kingdom became interested in whether they could obtain similar results when administering the nitrate dose in the form of nitrate-rich beetroot juice. This distinction is important since sodium nitrate is considered a drug, whereas beetroot juice is a natural food product individuals can readily include in the diet.
Bailey and associates evaluated the effect of beetroot juice consumption for six days on the oxygen cost of moderate- and high-intensity exercise, blood pressure, and plasma nitrite concentrations. The subjects consumed 0.5 L of Beet It (5.5 mmol of nitrate) or placebo (a black current cordial with negligible nitrate) for six days and completed a series of low- and high-intensity cycling tests on the last three days. On days 4 to 6, plasma nitrite concentration was significantly higher and systolic blood pressure was dramatically lower (8 mm Hg) in subjects who drank beetroot juice compared with placebo. The beetroot juice significantly reduced the oxygen cost of moderate-intensity cycling exercise by 19% and increased the time to exhaustion during high-intensity cycling by 17%.2