Tag Archives: Beet

Nutrient Found in Shellfish and Beets May Enhance Athletic Performance

6 Aug

According to Darin Ezra, a beverage consultant at Power Brands, adding a particular nutrient found in beets and shellfish to a sports drink could potentially enhance athletic performance.

In the U.K., research from Exeter University in the past has shown beetroot juice to have such an effect, due to its rather potent nitrate levels. Recently, scientists have been looking more into “betaine,” another nutrient. In New York, researchers at Ithaca College have determined that when added to a sports drink in tablet or powder form, betaine can improve athletic performance by nearly six-percent.

Sixteen cyclists of university age, both men and women, participated in the study. They were tested three separate times to measure the effects of the betaine beverages on their performance. According to Darin Ezra, maximum peak power was of particular interest in the study.

A relatively simple recipe was used by the team: 2.5 grams of betaine dissolved in a 20-ounce sports drink. Participants drank half of the beverage in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon.

The researchers reported that after just one week of betaine supplementation, mean and peak anaerobic power both increased, compared to baseline measures, by about 5.5%.

Thomas Swensen led the study, which is currently available online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

“Betaine may contribute to creatine synthesis, which improves strength, power and short-term performance,” he said. “Future research should elucidate the mechanism of how betaine supplementation improves performance.”

Previous studies reviewed by Darin Ezra have also shown bananas to be beneficial to a person’s athletic performance in a way similar to beets. Snacking on bananas, according to some researchers, could potentially boost endurance just as effectively as a sports drink. This particular study, from 2012, was published in the journal “PloS ONE.”

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