We get a lot of emails about a variety of things. One that we received recently was a message touting the benefits of beet juice. It was from a company that sold a beet-juice supplement, and the company claimed that drinking beet juice lowered a person’s blood pressure and increased one’s endurance, which could be major benefits for mountain bike racers. I didn’t know anything about the subject, so I went online and Googled ” beet juice” and found a number of articles about it, including an experiment at the University of Virginia that was conducted to find out the effects of giving beet juice to mice. As best I could tell from my reading, it sounds like beet juice could be helpful for athletes. According to the reports, drinking beet juice boosts the nitric oxide levels in one’s blood, which will enlarge the size of the arteries and make blood flow more easily to the muscles. That, in turn, can increase one’s endurance and lower one’s blood pressure. We don’t know if there might be any physical problems that can be caused by drinking beet juice (it’s probably high in sugar, which could be troublesome), but the subject could be worth looking into. And it might be worth trying, especially if you’re a cross-country racer working to improve your competitive performance.
If you want to read some scientific studies on this subject, you can check these out:
We have to warn you, though. You might need a Ph.D. in biochemistry to understand much of what they’re talking about in the second of the two studies cited above. It’s extremely scientific. If you try reading that one, it might be best to scroll down to the end of the study and read the conclusion.—John Ker/ Mountain Bike Action