Study under review: Nitrate supplementation improves physical performance specifically in non-athletes during prolonged open-ended tests: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Many athletes look for ways to boost performance to stay ahead of the competition and maximize their athletic potential. One of the most common supplements used by athletes to improve physical performance is nitrate (NO3-). As you can see in Figure 1, dietary nitrate is chemically reduced to nitrite, which can then be transformed to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes vasodilation and improves oxygen delivery, among other effects, which can lead to improved athletic performance.
However, many studies have explored the putative performance-enhancing effects of nitrate supplementation, and the results are conflicting. One recent meta-analysis investigating the effects of nitrate supplementation on endurance exercise performance concluded that nitrate supplementation may benefit endurance exercise capacity (how much exercise one can do, often measured by the time to exhaustion), but not time-trial performance. An earlier meta-analysis also reported disparate findings, with improvements observed for time to exhaustion tests, but not time trials or graded exercise tests. However, neither of these studies examined whether the effects of nitrate supplementation were influenced by the fitness levels of the participants, which was the impetus for the study under review.
Nitrate supplementation is popular among both professional and recreational athletes to boost exercise performance. Previous studies yielded conflicting results with respect to their efficacy, which could potentially be owed to differences in participant fitness levels. The study under review sought to evaluate whether nitrate supplementation has different effects in athletes compared to non-athletes.
Other Articles in Issue #43 (May 2018)
Eggcellent eggs part II: can people with diabetes safely eat two eggs per day?
This long-term follow-up to a study we covered way back in NERD #7 examined the effects of eggs on people with diabetes and prediabetes.
The misunderstood noodle
Does pasta pack on the pounds? This meta-analysis aimed to find out.
Interview: Andrew Vigotsky
In this interview with biomedical engineering PhD candidate Andrew Vigotsky, we talk biomechanics and the state of sports science research.
Does caloric restriction really make you live longer?
Two major hypothetical mechanisms of aging were put to the test in this human trial, the latest from the CALERIE project.
Interview: Lara Hyde, PhD
We chat with the creator and host of Nourishable about nutritional epigenomics and epigenetics, as well as the nuances of communicating science to the public.
Do vegetarians lack CCC insurance? A look into creatine, carnitine, and carnosine in vegetarian diets
These three molecules play an important role in sports performance. This trial is the longest interventional study to date looking at how switching to a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet impacts them.
Does whey supplementation help muscle function recover after lifting?
In this review, we cover the first meta-analysis examining whey protein’s impact on muscle function recovery after resistance training.