European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 353–362 | Cite as

The effects of beetroot juice supplementation on indices of muscle damage following eccentric exercise

  • Tom CliffordEmail author
  • Oliver Bell
  • Daniel J. West
  • Glyn Howatson
  • Emma J. Stevenson
Original Article



Foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals might attenuate skeletal muscle damage; thus, the present study investigated whether consuming an antioxidant rich beetroot juice would attenuate the muscle-damaging effects of eccentric exercise.


Using a double blind, independent groups design, 30 recreationally active males were allocated to consume a high dose of beetroot juice (H-BT; 250 ml), a lower dose of beetroot juice (L-BT; 125 ml), or an isocaloric placebo (PLA; 250 ml) immediately (×3 servings), 24 (×2 servings) and 48 h (×2 servings) following completion of 100-drop jumps. Maximal isometric voluntary contractions (MIVC), countermovement jumps (CMJ), pressure pain threshold (PPT), creatine kinase (CK), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured pre, post, 2 (blood indices only), 24, 48 and 72 h following the drop jumps.


CMJ performance recovered quicker (relative to baseline) in H-BT vs. PLA at 48 (91.7 ± 12.2 vs. 74.4 ± 17.3 %; P = 0.009, ES = 1.00) and 72 h postexercise (93.4 ± 7.7 vs. 86 ± 5.9 %; P = 0.046, ES = 1.25). PPT was greater in both the H-BT and L-BT vs. PLA at 24, 48 and 72 h postexercise (P < 0.001); PPT had returned to baseline in H-BT and L-BT at 72 h postexercise, but was still reduced in PLA (80.1 ± 28.9 % of baseline values). MIVC, CK, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-8 were unaffected by beetroot juice (P > 0.05).


Acute beetroot juice supplementation attenuated muscle soreness and decrements in CMJ performance induced by eccentric exercise; further research on the anti-inflammatory effects of beetroot juice are required to elucidate the precise mechanisms.


Exercise recovery Muscle damage Inflammation Betalains 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This study was funded as part of a doctoral degree that receives financial support from Gs Fresh Ltd. The funders supplied the supplements used in this study, but had no role in the conception of the study, its design, preparation, analysis and writing of the manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Clifford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oliver Bell
    • 1
  • Daniel J. West
    • 1
  • Glyn Howatson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emma J. Stevenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Sport, Exercise and RehabilitationNorthumbria UniversityNewcastleUK
  2. 2.Water Research Group, School of Environmental Sciences and DevelopmentNorthwest UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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