Doctor's Note

And finally, the finale. It all started with Doping With Beet Juice. Then an exploration of the mechanism in Priming the Proton Pump and Don’t Use Antiseptic Mouthwash. The real-world confirmation in Out of the Lab and Onto the Track. Then off on an interesting tangent in Asparagus Pee and Pretty In Pee-nk. The heart-healthy benefits of vegetable nitrates in Hearts Shouldn’t Skip a Beet and then where to find the most in Vegetables Rate by Nitrate. Then a seven-video journal to explain Is Bacon Good Or Is Spinach Bad? before landing us here. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Please let me know if you have any questions and make sure to check out my hundreds of other videos.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Using Greens to Improve Athletic PerformanceTop 10 Most Popular Videos of the YearCancer-Proofing Your Body,  Eating Green to Prevent Cancer, and  Increasing Muscle Strength with Fenugreek

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    And finally, the finale. It all started with Doping With Beet Juice. Then an exploration of the mechanism in Priming the Proton Pump and Don’t Use Antiseptic Mouthwash. The real-world confirmation in Out of the Lab and Onto the Track. Then off on an interesting tangent in Asparagus Pee and Pretty In Pee-nk. The heart-healthy benefits of vegetable nitrates in Hearts Shouldn’t Skip a Beet and then where to find the most in Vegetables Rate by Nitrate. Then a seven-video journal to explain Is Bacon Good Or Is Spinach Bad? before landing us here. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Please let me know if you have any questions and make sure to check out my hundreds of other videos.

  • CapeBreton

    I was surprised to see you reference a paper by Eaton on so called “Paleolithic nutrition.” These folks are part of a group who argues that we (humans) need to eat lots of meat to be healthy because that is built into our genes…..despite the overwhelming evidence that eating less (or no) meat promotes better health and that there are no nutrients except B12 not effectively obtained from a plant based diet.

    David Jenkins is more convincing in arguing our genetic heritage is more likely rooted in the Miocene, with a diversity of plant foods at the root of our diet.

    The Garden of Eden: Plant-Based Diets, The Genetic Drive to Store Fat and Conserve Cholesterol, and Implications for Epidemiology in the 21st Century
    Jenkins, David J. A.*†‡; Kendall, Cyril W. C.*‡

    Epidemiology:
    March 2006 – Volume 17 – Issue 2 – pp 128-130

  • David Schmidt

    SO previous videos led me to believe that drinking beet juice was good for me, especially helping my blood pressure. THis video leads me to think otherwise. Am I missing the point here?
    Any clarification is welcomed.
    Thanks.

    • Thea

      David: I’m sure someone else will have a better answer for you, but I thought I would give you some feedback.

      I do not believe that this video says that drinking beet juice is bad for you. This video seems to only say that beet juice *by itself* may not be as beneficial as it could be because it may not have the requisite vitamin C or similar nutrient. And since whole foods are almost always better than not, you might as well have your arugula salad and get more from your food than you would with just the beet juice.

      That’s how I interpreted the video. If you go back and watch the video again, I would be interested to hear if you still think this video is saying that eating beet juice is necessarily bad.

      • sf_jeff

        Or possibly beet juice with lemon or orange juice added?

    • Toxins

      Thea is correct, beet juice is just fine. But if we add vitamin c it will be more effective.

      • Chris

        I’ve read that beet juice taken every day could cause the body to have a allergic effect so it would be best to limit this to a few times a week.

  • azwildcat76

    Hey Doc:

    Love your website – thank you for all your efforts to promote good health. As an endurance athlete I thought that beets/beet juice was my little secret but now you’ve let the cat out of the bag so to speak. I am curious if you had any comments on Dr. Ferenczi’s early Hungarian studies on the use of beets/beet juice to combat cancer?? Best regards,Dave

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I see Dr. Ferenczi has published papers in both Hungarian and German. Anyone out there willing and able to translate them for me if I send you the PDFs? For an overview of my beet videos, see my blog yesterday at One Green Planet: Using Greens to Improve Athletic Performance.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lightningwilks James Lightning Wilks

        Did you get this translated? I am sure I can get the German translated by a friend.

  • Denshar

    what are the best foods to fight colon cancer with advanced mets?

  • Giuzan

    Dear Dr. Greger,
    Thank you for all the wonderful information. Could you please summarize how much broccoli is optimal for breast cancer prevention and how it should be prepared and onsumed? More advice about this topic is greatly apreciated!
    Many thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

    Just about every friend of mine is taking an L-Arginine supplement by the bucketful. They’ve been told by the direct marketer who sells it to them that l-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide so it’s a vasodilator. “Studies show”, they’ve been told, that l-arginine dissolves arteriosclerotic plaque, and that it lowers cholesterol. Thus, my friends think they are protected from heart disease and strokes.

    I am skeptical. Is there any truth to these health claims?

    • Toxins

      It is true, arginine is used to create nitric oxide, but I don’t know the effects of supplementing this, since it is already a nutrient our body creates. I am curious to see the studies that are purported by your friends to see if supplementing arginine really does increase nitric oxide. I have heard Dr. Caldwell Essylsten say we shouldn’t supplement arginine but he didnt delve into detail as to why.

      • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        As I wrote, ” ‘Studies show’, they’ve been told…” is the most I’ve gotten from them. They’ve been told these claims by the salesman, who evidently is a friend or a trusted chiropractor. They’ve all made some dietary changes, but any improvements in lipid markers, blood pressure, and other improvements they attribute to the arginine. They wouldn’t know a real study if they tripped over it.

        Same goes for the virgin coconut oil they use as well.

  • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

    PS. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Oz was their source for what they “know” about l-arginine. They pretty much consider anything he says to be gospel truth.

  • Dave Holland

    Could you please comment on whether these beet juice effects are best seen in aerobic type sports vs anaerobic type sports such as weight lifting, short distance swim and track events

  • Mel

    At a point in the video it state “fat free nitrate” does that mean if you use a fat based dressing ie olive oil on the roquette salad that the effects are attenuated or even negative (as with bacon) ?  Cheers,

    Mel

    • Toxins

       We should avoid olive oil for health reasons but that is another discussion entirely.

      Nitrates are found in the plant, and your body must convert it to nitrites. When it is in the form of nitrites, only then will fat turn it carcinogenic. Otherwise, nitrates alone will not become carcinogenic.

      • Moonchasis

        toxins, when you say that ” …..the body must convert it to nitrites, only then will fat turn it carcinogenic”  does this imply that if i combine arugula or spinach (full of ni.) with fat, such as macadamia nuts or pecans, the fat in the nuts will turn it carcinogenic?  thank you. 

        • Toxins

          The answer is no, because spinach and arugula contains nitrates not nitrites. If you eat it with nuts, the fat will not turn nitrates alone carcinogenic. It must circulate back and be secreted to your salivary glands via the liver. Once your mouth flora convert the nitrates to nitrites, if you eat nuts after that point the nitrites will become carcinogenic nitrosamines. Do not be afraid to eat nuts with your greens.

          • Kevin

            Hi,

            I had the exact same question as Mel and Moonchasis and I found your response very helpful.

            I have one more question, however. In the video, Dr. Greger says that, “as long as we have fat-free phytonutrients physically in our stomachs for three or four hours after we nitrate load,” we should be okay in regards to avoiding the formation of nitrosamines from nitrites. Does this statement imply that nitrates are very quickly absorbed, circulated, secreted in our saliva and converted to nitrites to be re-swallowed within a few minutes of eating a lot of nitrate-rich foods?

            If this is true, I imagine that eating fat (such as nuts) with nitrate-rich foods (arugula salad) would induce nitrosamine formation. In this case, the food, fat and phytonutrients (vitamin C) all stay in the stomach for a few hours (during digestion) and if the nitrates are quickly circulated, then they will arrive in the stomach again as nitrites to react with the fat and vitamin C that have not yet left the stomach (and subsequently form nitrosamines).

            However, this seems counter-intuitive because as Dr. Greger indicated in another video, eating fat with greens enhances nutrient absorption.

            You stated: “Once your mouth flora convert the nitrates to nitrites, if you eat nuts after that point the nitrites will become carcinogenic nitrosamines.” This seems to suggest that it takes a few hours for the nitrates to circulate into the saliva and that when re-swallowing as nitrites, the fat (the nuts you ate with the original salad) will have already left the stomach. What you said and my interpretation of it seem to make more sense to me (that it takes a few hours for the nitrates to circulate), considering that it is recommended to eat fat with greens.

            Otherwise, if the nitrates were circulated immediately, it would seem counter-intuitive to recommend eating fat with nitrate-rich foods in order to enhance absorption of fat-soluble nutrients because at the same time, the fat and vitamin C still in the stomach would facilitate the formation of carcinogens with the
            immediate addition of re-swallowed nitrite.

            Do you think that Dr. Greger actually meant what you stated? Also, do you know anything about how long it would take for the nitrate to be circulated?

            Thanks!

            Kevin

          • Toxins

            If we eat nuts with salad, the bolus of food in the stomach will be mixed. Although it is true that stomach emptying occurs more slowly when fat is present, that does not mean that the salad will be selectively squirted into the duodenum without the nuts. It will come out at the same time.

            I am not sure how long each process within the nitrate cycle takes but I know the overall affect takes about 3.5 hours. We should note that it is not essential to mix nuts with salad, and we have no evidence that the more that is absorbed the better. In any case, I do not see the nitrate with nuts as a major issue as long as one is following a whole foods plant based diet.

  • Jeannie

    I have had a lot of success with lowering my blood pressure by drinking a cup of fresh beet juice per day. Recently a friend told me that her doctor cautioned her not to drink more than 1 beet’s worth of juice per day because it would damage kidneys and liver. Is there any basis to the “no more than one beet per day” theory? Thank you, Jeannie

    • Toxins

      The Dr. may be suggesting this due to the relatively high oxalate content of beets, although I dont know of any research suggesting that oxalates are unhealthy or should be monitored when eaten in the form of whole plant foods. It may be possible to get alot of oxalates through juicing but I do not have a clear answer for you.

      • Jeannie

        Thank you so much and thank you for your fabulous website. I am going to keep drinking lots of beet juice! Jeannie

      • Jeannie

        How long should I allow for beets to go out of my system to take a fecal sample for my doctor. I am told that beets can cause a false positive for blood in fecal sample. Thanks

        • Toxins

          It takes 18 hours for food to exit a healthy digestive system digestive system.

  • Jeannie

    How long should I allow for beets to go out of my system to take a fecal sample for my doctor. I am told that beets can cause a false positive for blood in fecal sample. Thanks

  • Cg13

    Thank you very much for the great videos! As an elite endurance cyclist I am very interested the concept of beet juice and vit C. I was wondering if there is any research out there or you have any suggestions as to timing. Should I ingest the beet juice +vit C directly before a race, 1 hr before, etc…. does it matter what time of day? Thank you in advance.

  • jeff

    Hello Dr, Greger,

    Thanks for the very helpful material.

    I wonder, if beet juice is prepared and contained in a close bottle in a refrigerator, does its qualities fully preserved for 1-2 days? or is it that in order to gain the maximal benefit, juice needs to be prepared just before one wants to drink it ?

    similar question please with regard to keeping pilled and cut to slices beet roots in a friege (if one doesn’t want to deal with it on early mornings) ?

    Thanks again,

    J

  • HevyG

    Aside from the loss of fiber, are there any other detriments to using a masticating juicer, as opposed to eating the whole food?

  • Mark

    Again, as there is no general category for related questions (sorry):

    Dr. Ignarro advises L-Argine supplements (along with citruline) in order to enhance NO production.

    I know that in general the trending is away from supplementation with the exception of perhaps Vit D, B12 and ..& milk thistle.

    I am wondering if you have any updated information regarding the (in)effectiveness/desirability of this supplementation.

    I might also ask about any risk/benefits of supplementing:
    alpha-lipoic acid,
    Co-Q10, and
    milk thistle

    Thank you very much.

    • Toxins

      Arginine is a nonessential amino acid that our body can produce enough of to function optimally and properly, this is why it is known as a nonessential amino acid. Citruline can be consumed just by eating citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges so I see no need in supplementing these 2 compounds. I know of no evidence claiming that these 2 substances should be consumed in pill form.

      ALA is simply plant based omega 3 which converts to DHA and EPA in our body. Consuming flax seeds, walnuts and other whole plant foods can provide more then enough ALA. I am unfamiliar with Co-Q10 and milk thistle but I can predict that these things are also close to useless. Eating whole unprocessed plant foods will provide all the nutrients you need, except vitamin b12 and vitamin D, to achieve optimal health.

      • Teddy Bear

        if plants are grown in deficient soil, then iodine and/or selenium may be needed. Though kelp and Brazil nuts may be the answer.

        • Toxins

          Be cautious with kelp, as with Dr. Gregers video here. Kelp is an extremely concentrated source of iodine.

  • Teddy Bear
    • Toxins

      Not very much though, 11% in a 136 gram cup is skimpy.

  • RK

    Hi Doc,

    You mentioned to add greens to beet jiuce…does that inlcude the beet greens? If so, it makes it easy to get beets along with its greens and juice all of it to make it a simpler solution than adding another green.

    Thanks,
    RK

  • Eric

    Dr. Greger,

    Germany here, GREAT WEBSITE! After watching your “athlete-series” i would like to know if the time of ingestion of nitrate-rich foods such as arugola is influencing the training-benefits? For example, is it better to take it directly before training or better 2-3 hours before?
    Thanks.