One of the latest supplement trends is to add nitrates to energy bars and preworkout formulations. High levels of dietary nitrates increase nitric oxide (NO) levels in the blood, which is used by the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) to trigger relaxation in the vascular smooth muscle (the outer lining of blood vessels). This ensuing vasodilation promotes increased blood flow to muscles and organs throughout the body. Past research has noted the great benefits nitrate rich supplements (e.g., beetroot extract) can have on endurance and time to exhaustion. As well, other research illustrates that taking beetroot extract (even for less than even a week) significantly enhances muscle contractile efficiency, meaning you can workout harder with less energy cost.
Most recently, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition investigated the effects of short-term (3-days) nitrate rich supplementation (containing 3 g beetroot extract, supplying 35.5 mg of dietary nitrates) on heavy resistance exercise performance in young weight trained men. The research team found that nitrate-rich supplementation produced a 4-6% improvement in the ability to sustain peak muscular activity during intense heavy resistance exercise. They concluded that nitrate rich supplements enhance the efficiency of muscle contractions during fatiguing resistance exercise.
Dosing: As always, we recommend taking 500-750mg of high nitrate standardized beetroot extract, 30-120 minutes before training.
Flanagan SD, Looney DP, Miller MJ, DuPont WH, Pryor L, Creighton BC, Sterczala AJ, Szivak TK, Hooper DR, Maresh CM, Volek JS, Ellis LA, Kraemer WJ. The Effects of Nitrate-Rich Supplementation on Neuromuscular Efficiency during Heavy Resistance Exercise. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Feb-Mar;35(2):100-7.