Study under review: The Effects of Nitrate-Rich Supplementation on Neuromuscular Efficiency during Heavy Resistance Exercise
Although it is well established that eating plant foods is healthy, we are still far from fully understanding why. Researchers are still investigating many plant compounds whose health benefits remain poorly understood. For example, nitrate, the topic of this review, is a compound found in beetroot and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula.
Nitrate was discussed in NERD #5, which analyzed a recent study that found oral ingestion of nitrate-rich beetroot juice reduced the blood pressure of hypertensive individuals for a 24-hour period. Nitrate was again discussed in NERD #9, Volume 2, in the context of exercise. The analyzed study reported that seven days of supplementation with nitrate-rich beetroot juice led to improved performance during a repeated cycle sprint test. Corroborating this finding, other studies have shown that supplementation with nitrate-rich beetroot juice led to improvements in running, swimming, cycling, and rowing performance.
All the studies to date, with the exception of the one analyzed in NERD #9, Volume 2, focused on aerobic exercises. But one of the proposed mechanisms behind nitrate’s potential ergogenic effect involves an increase in blood flow to fast-twitch muscle fibers under hypoxic conditions. So, the authors of the study under review explored how a nitrate-rich supplement bar may affect physical performance during resistance exercise.
Researchers have recently begun understanding how particular plant compounds affect our health and performance. This study is the first to analyze the potential of nitrates to enhance resistance exercise performance.
Other Articles in Issue #19 (May 2016)
Training hot for performance gains
Athletes know all too well that sudden exposure to heat or altitude can severely impact performance, so acclimation is a good idea. And it turns out that exposure to one of these stressors may actually help the other one.
The art & science of evidence-based practice and elite performance By Craig Pickering
As one of the rare athletes to participate in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Craig has a unique perspective on the intersection of optimal performance and evidence-based practice.
Relaxing arteries with magnesium
To stave off cardiovascular disease, we want our arteries to be more pliable than stiff. This trial tested six months of magnesium supplementation for the purpose of reducing arterial stiffness.
Beating “the burn” with baking soda
Can you believe that something as simple as baking soda may boost performance? While this fact has been known for a while, researchers didn’t know that people’s responses to different doses can vary quite a bit
A compound from beer may help fat loss
Bitter, hop-derived compounds found in beer may actually reduce body fat levels. Previously only shown in mice, this study tested the theory in humans
Sugar is the ultimate antioxidant and insulin will make you younger: Appreciating a few poorly recognized but critical contributions of carbohydrate
By Chris Masterjohn, PhD: Sugar is widely demonized in the media and medical establishment. Professor Masterjohn provides an eye-opening and detailed view on some potential protective roles of glucose.
Milk gone bad: A1 beta-casein and GI distress
Casein isn’t just the slowly digesting protein that helps prevent muscle breakdown. This study looked at possible negative effects of the most common type of casein in milk
Arsenic in rice: big trouble for little infants?
Depending on where it’s grown, rice can have rather high levels of arsenic. Especially brown rice. This may be important for developing infants
How much protein does grandpa really need?
One of the many downsides to aging is altered protein mechanics. Based on the theory that protein requirements for seniors may be pegged too low, this study quantified protein needs in older males.