Nitrate supplementation in bodybuilding is growing, due to its ability to improve sports performance. This nutrient is abundant in green leafy vegetables and beets, which after ingestion, the nitrate present is converted by bacteria present on the tongue into nitrite (NO2-). Under conditions of hypoxia and acidosis, it is converted to nitric oxide (NO). Some of the nitrite is converted to nitrate in the acidic middle of the stomach, but are there any new perspectives on nitrate in bodybuilding.
Nitrate in bodybuilding
Increased nitrate availability can affect mitochondrial respiration and biogenesis, aid in maintaining glycemic homeostasis, attenuate oxidative stress, and increase blood flow in active muscles during physical activity.
In addition, Andrew Jones
‘ review presented the 82% increase in plasma nitrate and the ability of nitrate to reduce oxygen costs during exercise. However, recently some evidence has theorized a beneficial effect of nitrate on high-intensity muscle contraction.
Thus, a double-blind clinical trial called “Beetroot juice supplementation increases concentric and eccentric muscle power output” aimed to evaluate the effect of beet juice on eccentric and concentric contraction during half-squat movements.
In the study, 18 active subjects were recruited, divided into two groups: placebo and nitrate. The dose used in the study was 400 mg of NO3- using concentrated beet juice (140ml), 2 1/2 hours before exercise.
As a conclusion, acute supplementation with beet juice increased both potency in the concentric phase and in the eccentric phase in a variety of moments of inertia during half-squat exercise.
Clinical practice on nitrate in bodybuilding
The study may show a new applicability of nitrate in sports practice, and can be a great ally in strength sports, such as bodybuilding. However, more evidence is needed to solidify this effect of nitrate on muscle contraction.
In addition, nitrate supplementation can be an ally in sports performance, since it decreases oxygen costs and improves muscle power. It is found in green leafy foods and beets, but it takes 100g to ingest 250 mg of nitrate, which may be unfeasible. Therefore, concentrated beet juice would be more advantageous.
It is also necessary not to use mouthwash or brush your teeth when ingesting the juice, so as not to hinder the conversion of nitrate. Another caveat is to ingest 2-3 hours before exercise to get the benefits, having no difference in chronic or acute use.
Does beet juice improve sports performance?
RODRÍGUEZ-FERNÁNDEZ. Beetroot juice supplementation increases concentric and eccentric muscle power output. Original investigation. Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport, [s. l], v. 1, n. 24, pp. 80-84, 2021. Available in: https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(20)30090-6/fulltext. Access in: 03 mar. 2023
JONES, Andrew M. et al. Dietary Nitrate Supplementation and Exercise Performance. Sports Medicine, , v. 44, [S .L.]n. 1, p. 35-45, May 2014. Springer Science and Business Media LLC.