Can Beet Juice Improve Muscle Function?

This is FACT.

Recent studies have shown that beet juice, also known as beetroot juice, may help enhance muscle performance—good news not just for athletes looking to gain an edge, but for aging individuals looking to maintain muscle function.

Beet Juice May Help Heart Failure Patients

Beet juice is concentrated with nutrients, including naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates are converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO has been shown to strengthen heart health by promoting healthy blood flow and preventing clots and blockages. The heart is a muscle, and recent research shows that similar benefits seem to extend to other muscles throughout the body.

Previous research out of Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri suggests that dietary nitrates, such as those found in beet juice, strengthen muscle performance in elite athletes. Researchers have since set out to determine if nitrates in beet juice may also boost muscle function in patients with heart failure who suffer from symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath during their daily activities.

Senior study author Dr. Linda R. Peterson, associate professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, told Medical News Today:

“A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based—getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, or climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life… We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer, or other conditions.”

Patients with heart failure were given either beet juice with nitrates or beet juice with the nitrates removed. Tests performed 2 hours later revealed that those who drank the nitrate-rich beet juice showed a 13% increase in power in the muscles responsible for extending the knee…a gain that compares to that experienced by heart failure patients who underwent 2 to 3 months of resistance training!

Beet JuiceBeet Juice for Stamina and Strength

In addition to improving muscle function, beet juice has been shown to increase stamina. The Journal of Applied Physiology reported that people who drank beet juice before exercising were able to go up to 16% longer than those who didn’t fuel with beet juice. And a study published August 2015 in Nitric Oxide revealed that healthy men and women who took a concentrated beet juice supplement exhibited increased levels of NO throughout the body, as well as improved muscle speed and power.

Beet juice is high in sugar, so you may not want to indulge every day. Nutritionists recommend mixing it up with whole beets, beet juice, and perhaps a beet supplement.