Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

What is it?

Nitrate is a molecule abundantly present in the human body, is present in the cycle of nitric oxide production endogenously and can also come from exogenous sources, through the consumption of foods rich in inorganic nitrate, such as green leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, arugula, celery, watercress and beetroot) and some fruits, which increase the body reserves of nitrite and nitrate. Nitrate can also be supplemented by athletes, as it is important in various physiological processes that can support or improve exercise performance.

What’s nitrate for?

There is evidence that nitrate supplementation improves exercise tolerance and can also improve performance in endurance exercise, especially in athletes who are not “elite”. The effectiveness seems less clear in high caliber athletes, further studies are needed to determine a higher level of evidence. Nitrate can also act in maintaining vascular tone, resulting in better vascularization. It also prevents platelet aggregation because it has antioxidant effect and also acts in the regulation of pressure through the elevation of PCGM and the reduction of intraplatelet and blood calcium, that is, the reduction of nitric oxide favors hypertension.

How does nitrate work?

The mechanism of action of nitrate supplementation is based on increasing plasma nitrite concentrations to increase nitric oxide production. NO has several vascular (vasculoprotective) and metabolic effects that reduce the “oxygen cost” of exercise and improve exercise tolerance and capacity. Recent studies have also been perceived as its potential to reduce blood pressure

When do you need to supplement?

The literature shows that 2 to 6 days (or up to 15 days) of supplementation may increase performance indices during the exercise of constant high intensity work rate, but the effects of acute supplementation on performance are less consistent, with its effectiveness depending on factors such as age, health, diet and physical condition/training. The consensus view of experts is that nitrate supplementation with plant products such as beet juice is very unlikely to be harmful, but more long-term studies are still needed before chronic supplementation can be recommended.


Reading suggestion:
Nitrate for athletes: evidence and clinical practice

Article: Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. Sports Med. 2014 May;44 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S35-45. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0149-y. PMID: 24791915; PMCID: PMC4008816.

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