Nitrate Consumption Has No Effect on Oxygen Consumption at Moderate Altitude

Increased dietary nitrate consumption (beetroot juice) had no effect on oxygen consumption during exercise at an altitude of 1,600 meters (5,250 feet) but it caused reduced lactate levels compared to a placebo (fake nitrate)— according to Colin Carriker from Indiana State University, and colleagues. Nitrate, found in foods such as beetroot juice, helps produce nitric oxide (NO)— a chemical that helps control tissue blood flow. Many cells in the body produce NO, particularly by the endothelial cells that line the arteries. The results of more than 20 studies showed that supplemental nitrates improved endurance performance by about five percent. Other studies found that foods containing nitrates, such as beetroot extract, improve blood pressure control and sexual performance in men. Dietary nitrate, and the resulting increased nitric oxide production, positively affects aerobic capacity but has little effect at altitude. Some research supports consumption of high-nitrate foods to prevent acute mountain sickness. (International Journal Sports Nutrition Exercise Metabolism, 26: 315-322, 2016)

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