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Nitrate Supplementation May Boost Sports Performance

A recent study suggests that nitrate supplementation in combination with sprint interval training in low oxygen conditions may enhance sport performance.

Participants in the study included 27 moderately trained participants who were given nitrate supplements before sprint interval training, which consisted of short but intense cycling sessions three times weekly. The workouts took place in both normal oxygen conditions and low oxygen conditions, similar to those found at high altitudes.

The researchers found that the muscle fiber composition changed with the enhanced nitrate intake in low oxygen conditions after only five weeks.  Performing intense workouts in high altitude conditions requires high input of fast-oxidative muscle fibers to sustain performance. Enhancing these muscle fibers through nutritional intake could lead to improved performance.

Researchers from Universiteit Leuven, Bakala Academy, and Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, Nottingham Trent University in the UK, and Victoria University in Australia conducted the study. It was published on June 14, 2016, in Frontiers in Physiology.

Previous studies have linked nitrate with improved regulation of blood flow, better blood pressure, cellular signaling, glucose homeostasis, and improved tissue responses to low oxygen levels as well as improved cardiovascular health.

Beetroots are perhaps the most popular nitrate-rich food. They can be steamed, sautéed, or juiced to add a colorful, healthy addition to any meal. If beetroots aren’t to your liking, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, garlic, pumpkin, radishes, and string beans are all great sources of nitrate as well.

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