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New Study Shows How Dietary Nitrates Boost Performance and Heart Health

I've said it many times before:

If you are an athlete, you are cheating yourself by not optimizing your nitric oxide (NO) level prior to training and competition.

Not an athlete? A high NO level is still a necessity for optimal health and well-being. It improves blood flow to the brain (promoting better focus and concentration); it improves sexual function and response (Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra all work by increasing the body's ability to utilize NO);and it can even slow down the process of aging(look for more on this topic in an upcoming post)....

Recent research provides further insights into the physiological importance of NO.

Previous studies report thatdietary nitrates increase skeletal muscle function during (endurance) exercise.  David Poole and his colleagues from Kansas State University now report that, "nitrates in beetroot juice not only increased blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise by 38% but it was preferential to the less-oxygenated, fast-twitch muscles. The observation that dietary nitrate supplementation via beetroot juice improves metabolic control in fast twitch muscle provide a mechanism for the beetroot juice-induced improvements in high-intensity exercise performance seen in humans.”...

Scott K. Ferguson, Clark T. Holdsworth, Jennifer L. Wright, Alex J. Fees, Jason D. Allen, David C. Poole, et al.  “Microvascular oxygen pressures in muscles comprised of different fiber types: Impact of dietary nitrate supplementation.”  Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry, 2 October 2014.

The benefits of beetroot come from the nitrate found within it. The amount of nitrate in a 70-milliliter serving of beetroot juice is equivalent to that found in  a full 100 grams of spinach. When consumed, nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite. The nitrite is swallowed again and then reduced to nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. The nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels (similar to turning on a water faucet), allowing for faster, more efficient blood flow. 

While beetroot juice can be effective, it has drawbacks for long term use.

*It's high in carbohydrates

*It's high in oxalates (which can impair kidney function)
*Nitrate levels are inconsistent, varying on the beetroot source
*It's inconvenient and costly ($3.00 or more per single dose)
*It's taste is unpalatable for many
*It doesn't work for those with oral and/or gastrointestinal bacteria imbalances
*It only supports one of the two main nitric oxide production pathways.

A more efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to raise your nitric oxide to an optimal level is to supplement your diet.. 

By using a powdered, nitrate-rich, whole-food concentrate like Chocoberry Blastand a nitrate-rich lozenge like Charge! or Neo40. Both of these formulas provide high-nitrate beet concentrate along with synergistic NO-supporting nutrients including citrulline, hawthorne, and pomegranate.

Here is a synopsis of the study..

A number of high-profile football teams claim that NO supplementation has improved their athletic performance and recovery. The Auburn University football team's pre-game ritual includes the use of beetroot juice, which may very well have contributed to its recent, winning season. As mentioned earlier, an exercise physiologist who has been studying beetroot supplements for several years agrees:

"Our research, published in the journal Physiology in 2013, has shown that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise," said David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University. The journal Physiology is widely regarded as the world's premiere physiology journal.

The researchers' latest study, "Microvascular oxygen pressures in muscles comprised of different fiber types: Impact of dietary nitrate supplementation," was published in the Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry. This work provides the basis for how beetroot juice may also benefit football players by preferentially increasing blood flow to fast-twitch muscle fibers, the ones used for explosive running. This work was performed by Poole; Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in anatomy and physiology; and Timothy Musch, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology, all at Kansas State University.

In addition to improving athletic performance, the research also found that beetroot juice can improve quality of life for heart failure patients.

"Remember, for every one football player in the United States, there are many thousands of heart failure patients that would benefit from this therapy," Poole said. "It's a big deal because even if you can only increase oxygen delivery by 10 percent, that can be the difference between a patient being wheelchair-bound versus getting up and walking around and interacting with his or her family."

"Heart failure is a disease where oxygen delivery to particular tissues, especially working skeletal muscles, is impaired, decreasing the capacity to move the arms or legs and be physically active," Poole said. "The best therapy for these patients is getting up and moving around. However, that is often difficult. Increasing the oxygen delivery to these muscles through beetroot can provide a therapeutic avenue to improve the quality of life for these patients."

here for more on the study's findings.