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Effect of 1-week betalain-rich beetroot concentrate supplementation on cycling performance and select physiological parameters

Abstract

Purpose

Betalains are indole-derived pigments found in beet root, and recent studies suggest that they may exert ergogenic effects. Herein, we examined if supplementation for 7 days with betalain-rich beetroot concentrate (BLN) improved cycling performance or altered hemodynamic and serum analytes prior to, during and following a cycling time trial (TT).

Methods

Twenty-eight trained male cyclists (29 ± 10 years, 77.3 ± 13.3 kg, and 3.03 ± 0.62 W/kg) performed a counterbalanced crossover study whereby BLN (100 mg/day) or placebo (PLA) supplementation occurred over 7 days with a 1-week washout between conditions. On the morning of day seven of each supplementation condition, participants consumed one final serving of BLN or PLA and performed a 30-min cycling TT with concurrent assessment of several physiological variables and blood markers.

Results

BLN supplementation improved average absolute power compared to PLA (231.6 ± 36.2 vs. 225.3 ± 35.8 W, p = 0.050, d = 0.02). Average relative power, distance traveled, blood parameters (e.g., pH, lactate, glucose, NOx) and inflammatory markers (e.g., IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNFα) were not significantly different between conditions. BLN supplementation significantly improved exercise efficiency (W/ml/kg/min) in the last 5 min of the TT compared to PLA (p = 0.029, d = 0.45). Brachial artery blood flow in the BLN condition, immediately post-exercise, tended to be greater compared to PLA (p = 0.065, d = 0.32).

Conclusions

We report that 7 days of BLN supplementation modestly improves 30-min TT power output, exercise efficiency as well as post-exercise blood flow without increasing plasma NOx levels or altering blood markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and/or hematopoiesis.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

BLN:

Betalain-rich beetroot concentrate

CO:

Cardiac output

EPO:

Erythropoietin

FMD:

Flow-mediated dilation

HR:

Heart rate

NO:

Nitric oxide

PLA:

Placebo

RER:

Respiratory exchange ratio

TBARS:

Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances

TT:

Time trial

References

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by a contract awarded to Auburn University (MDR) and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine—Auburn Campus (KCY and JSM) from FutureCeuticals (Momence, IL USA). Contract monies were used for participant compensation and assay-related costs.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Conception and study design: MDR, KCY, JSM. Data collection: PWM, WCK, MAR, CTH, CBM, SCO, JCH, ANM, WCR, KCY. Data analysis: PMW, KCY, MDR, JSM. Manuscript preparation: PMW, MDR, KCY. All authors reviewed, edited and approved the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kaelin C. Young.

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Conflict of interest

None of the authors have conflicts of interest to declare regarding the publication of these data.

Additional information

Jeffrey S. Martin, Michael D. Roberts and Kaelin C. Young are co-principal investigators.

Communicated by Anni Vanhatalo.

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Mumford, P.W., Kephart, W.C., Romero, M.A. et al. Effect of 1-week betalain-rich beetroot concentrate supplementation on cycling performance and select physiological parameters. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 2465–2476 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3973-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3973-1

Keywords

  • Betalains
  • Exercise efficiency
  • Blood flow
  • Cycling