Effects of inorganic nitrate and beetroot supplementation on endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis



Diets rich in inorganic nitrate are associated with lower blood pressure, an effect that may be mediated by an improvement of endothelial function (EF). Therefore, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were conducted to examine the effects of inorganic nitrate and beetroot supplementation on measures of EF.


MEDLINE, EMBASE and Scopus databases were searched from inception until November 2014. Specific inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) RCTs; (2) trials comparing inorganic nitrate or beetroot supplementation with placebo control groups; and (3) trials reporting effects of these interventions on outcomes of vascular function. Random-effect models were used to assess the pooled effect sizes showed as standardised mean differences (SMD).


Nine crossover trials and three parallel trials met our inclusion criteria. The trials were conducted between 2008 and 2014 and included a total of 246 participants with 10–64 participants per study. The duration of each intervention ranged from 1.5 h to 28 days. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot consumption was associated with an improvement in vascular function (SMD 0.36; 95 % CI 0.16, 0.56; P < 0.001). The effect on EF was significantly associated with the dose of inorganic nitrate (β = 0.04, SE = 0.01, P < 0.001), age (β = −0.01, SE = 0.004, P = 0.02), baseline BMI (β = −0.04, SE = 0.02, P = 0.05) and systolic BP (β = −0.01, SE = 0.005, P = 0.02).


Inorganic nitrate and beetroot supplementation was associated with beneficial effects on EF. These effects appear to be reduced in older subjects and in subjects with greater cardiometabolic risk.

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Correspondence to Jose Lara.

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Lara, J., Ashor, A.W., Oggioni, C. et al. Effects of inorganic nitrate and beetroot supplementation on endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Nutr 55, 451–459 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-0872-7

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  • Endothelial function
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • Beetroot
  • Inorganic nitrate
  • Meta-analysis
  • Cardiovascular risk