Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover studies convinced the scientific establishment that nitrate-rich vegetables such as beets could noticeably improve athletic performance.
Image thanks to Richard Masoner.
The scientific world could simply not believe that beets could significantly, noticeably improve athletic performance by enhancing energy production at the subcellular level. So last year the same type of study was repeated over and over and over in different labs. Forget the labs, what about out on the race track. Chugged two cups of beet juice and off they went. Randomized, double blind, crossover, placebo controlled study; nobody knew who was drinking what going into it, beet juice versus de-nitrated beet juice. And the most striking finding was a significant improvement in 4 and 16 K competitive cycling time trial performance after the ingestion of a single half liter beetroot beverage, with all nine individuals completing both distances faster after beetroot supplementation.
And once the researchers were actually able to take muscle biopsies from people before and after, and provide proof, earlier this year, that mitochondrial efficiency, human energy production could be improved; they finally won over the scientific establishment. A toast to health and performance.
The media echoed the praise… complete with even more atrocious puns.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
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For an explanation of this boost in the mitochondrial efficiency of human energy extraction, see Priming the proton pump, the second video in my series on the performance-enhancing effects of vegetables. What might be the potential downsides of doping with beets or other nitrite-containing vegetables? Stay tuned for tomorrow's video of the day. And if you can't wait until tomorrow for your next NutritionFacts.org video, there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.
For some context, please check out my associated blog post, Using Greens to Improve Athletic Performance.