Beetroot juice is more beneficial than sodium nitrate for attenuating muscle pain after strenuous eccentric-bias exercise.
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Jul 18. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28719765
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of beetroot juice (BTJ) and a nitrate only drink (sodium nitrate; SN) on indices of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Thirty recreationally active males consumed either BTJ (n=10), a nitrate matched SN drink (n=10) or an isocaloric placebo (PLA; n=10) immediately, 24 and 48 h after performing 100 drop jumps. To assess muscle damage, maximal isometric voluntary contractions (MIVC), countermovement jumps (CMJ), pressure-pain threshold (PPT), creatine kinase (CK) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were measured pre, immediately post, 24, 48 and 72 h following the drop jumps. BTJ and SN increased serum nitric oxide (NO), which peaked at 2 h post-ingestion (136±78 and 189 ± 79 μmol/L, respectively). PPT decreased in all groups post-exercise (P = 0.001), but was attenuated with BTJ compared to SN and PLA (P = 0.043). PPT was 104±26% of baseline values 72 h post after BTJ; 94±16% after SN, and; 91±19% after PLA. MIVC and CMJ were reduced following exercise (-15-25%) and did not recover to baseline by 72 h in all groups; however, no group differences were observed (P>0.05). Serum CK increased after exercise but no group differences were present (P>0.05). hsCRP levels were unaltered by the exercise protocol (P>0.05). These data suggest that BTJ supplementation is more effective than SN for attenuating muscle pain associated with EIMD, and that any analgesic effects are likely due to phytonutrients in BTJ other than nitrate, or interactions between them.