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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2017, Article ID 7853034, 9 pages
Clinical Study

A Single Dose of Beetroot Gel Rich in Nitrate Does Not Improve Performance but Lowers Blood Glucose in Physically Active Individuals

1Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-909 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho e Escola de Educação Física e Esporte, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
4Instituto de Nutrição, Núcleo Básico de Nutrição e Dietética, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 27979-000 Macaé, RJ, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Vânia M. Flosi Paschoalin; rb.jrfu.qi@vhcsap

Received 11 October 2016; Revised 20 December 2016; Accepted 22 December 2016; Published 24 January 2017

Academic Editor: C. S. Johnston

Copyright © 2017 Julia Vasconcellos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Beetroot consumption has been proposed to improve exercise performance, since the nitrate content of this food is able to stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide. Objective. The acute effect of 100 g of a beetroot gel containing ~10 mmol of nitrate was tested on the nitric oxide synthesis, on metabolic and biochemical parameters, and on performance in physically active individuals. Methods. Through a double blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study, 25 healthy runners ingested a single dose of beetroot and placebo gels. Participants performed an aerobic exercise protocol on a treadmill (3 min warm-up of 40% peak oxygen consumption, 4 min at 90% of gas exchange threshold I and 70% (Δ) maximal end speed until volitional fatigue). Results. Urinary levels of nitrite and nitrate increased after 90 min of beetroot gel ingestion. Plasma glucose concentrations lowered after the exercise and the decrease was maintained for 20 min. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures, serum cortisol, and blood lactate were not altered after the beetroot gel ingestion compared to a placebo gel. Conclusion. The single dose of beetroot gel provoked an increase of nitric oxide synthesis although no improvement on the physical performance of athletes during aerobic submaximal exercise was observed.