In a study with 30 physically active soldiers, the effect of supplementation with beetroot juice for 15 days was investigated. Plasma lipid profile, antioxidant status, oxidative stress and body composition changes were evaluated;
- Beetroot juice supplementation beneficially influenced the lipid profile by significantly increasing the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- A significant increase in plasma total antioxidant capacity and vitamin C levels was observed.
- Beetroot juice supplementation significantly decreased stress markers and cortisol levels.
- Beetroot juice supplementation increased plasma nitrite levels (beetroot juice acts as a potent vasodilator by increasing plasma nitrite levels).
- There was no significant change in the body weight, basal metabolic rate, or body water but there was a decrease in fat mass and body mass index of soldiers.
The researchers concluded that adequate nutritional support is a must in order to maintain the highest level of physical fitness under different climatic conditions. Their results demonstrated that a regular intake of beetroot juice increases antioxidant protection and improves lipid profile. The study highlights the potential of a “natural” low-cost approach for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and for effective performance enhancement at extreme environmental conditions.
Singh, A., et al. (2015). Beetroot juice supplementation increases high density lipoprotein-cholesterol and reduces oxidative stress in physically active individuals. Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, vol. 5, 179–185.