• Beetroot supplementation improves the physiological responses to incline walking

      Waldron, Mark; Waldron, Luke; Lawlor, Craig; Gray, Adrian; Highton, Jamie M.; St Mary's University; University of New England; Medical Education Centre Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Chester (Springer, 2018-03-15)
      Purpose: We investigated the effects of an acute 24-h nitrate-rich beetroot juice supplement (BR) on the energy cost, exercise efficiency and blood pressure responses to intermittent walking at different gradients. Methods: In a double-blind, cross-over design, eight participants were provided with a total of 350 ml of nitrate-rich (~20.5 mmol nitrate) BR or placebo (PLA) across 24-h before completing intermittent walking at 3 km/h on treadmill at gradients of 1%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%. Results: Resting mean arterial pressure (MAP) was ~4.1% lower after BR (93 vs. 89 mmHg; P = 0.001), as well as during exercise (102 vs. 99 mmHg; P = 0.011) and recovery (97 vs. 94 mmHg; P = 0.001). Exercising (1227 vs. 1129 ml/min P < 0.001) and end-stage (1404 vs. 1249 ml/min; P = 0.002) oxygen uptake (𝑉O2) was lower in BR compared to PLA, which was accompanied by an average reduction in phase II 𝑉 ̇O2 amplitude (1067 vs. 940 ml/min; P = 0.025). Similarly, recovery 𝑉O2 (509 vs. 458 ml/min; P = 0.001) was lower in BR. Whole-blood potassium concentration increased from pre-post exercise in PLA (4.1 ± 0.3 vs. 4.5 ± 0.3 mmol/L; P = 0.013) but not BR (4.1 ± 0.31 vs. 4.3 ± 0.2 mmol/L; P = 0.188). Conclusions: Energy cost of exercise, recovery of 𝑉O2, MAP and blood markers were ameliorated after BR. Previously reported mechanisms explain these findings, which are more noticeable during less efficient walking at steep gradients (15-20%). These findings have practical implications for hill-walkers.