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MANHATTAN, Kansas — Football teams are claiming it improves their athletic performance, and according to new research from Kansas State University, it also benefits heart failure patients. The special ingredient: beetroot.
Recently, the Auburn University football team revealed its pregame ritual of taking beetroot concentrate, or beet juice, before each game. The juice may have contributed to the team’s recent winning season — and one exercise physiologist who has been studying the supplement for several years says that may be the case.
“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 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 the quality of life for heart failure patients. More…