European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 7, pp 1673–1684 | Cite as

Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance

  • Lee J. Wylie
  • Magni Mohr
  • Peter Krustrup
  • Sarah R. Jackman
  • Georgios Ermιdis
  • James Kelly
  • Matthew I. Black
  • Stephen J. Bailey
  • Anni Vanhatalo
  • Andrew M. Jones
Original Article


Recent studies have suggested that dietary inorganic nitrate (NO3 ) supplementation may improve muscle efficiency and endurance exercise tolerance but possible effects during team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise have not been examined. We hypothesized that NO3 supplementation would enhance high-intensity intermittent exercise performance. Fourteen male recreational team-sport players were assigned in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design to consume 490 mL of concentrated, nitrate-rich beetroot juice (BR) and nitrate-depleted placebo juice (PL) over ~30 h preceding the completion of a Yo–Yo intermittent recovery level 1 test (Yo–Yo IR1). Resting plasma nitrite concentration ([NO2 ]) was ~400 % greater in BR compared to PL. Plasma [NO2 ] declined by 20 % in PL (P < 0.05) and by 54 % in BR (P < 0.05) from pre-exercise to end-exercise. Performance in the Yo–Yo IR1 was 4.2 % greater (P < 0.05) with BR (1,704 ± 304 m) compared to PL (1,636 ± 288 m). Blood [lactate] was not different between BR and PL, but the mean blood [glucose] was lower (3.8 ± 0.8 vs. 4.2 ± 1.1 mM, P < 0.05) and the rise in plasma [K+] tended to be reduced in BR compared to PL (P = 0.08). These findings suggest that NO3 supplementation may promote NO production via the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway and enhance Yo–Yo IR1 test performance, perhaps by facilitating greater muscle glucose uptake or by better maintaining muscle excitability. Dietary NO3 supplementation improves performance during intense intermittent exercise and may be a useful ergogenic aid for team sports players.


Repeated high-intensity exercise Nitric oxide Team sports Ergogenic aids 



The authors thank Jamie R Blackwell for advice and assistance with the plasma nitrate and nitrite analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee J. Wylie
    • 1
  • Magni Mohr
    • 1
  • Peter Krustrup
    • 1
  • Sarah R. Jackman
    • 1
  • Georgios Ermιdis
    • 1
  • James Kelly
    • 1
  • Matthew I. Black
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Bailey
    • 1
  • Anni Vanhatalo
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of ExeterExeterUK

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