Performance-enhancing effect of nitrates still present 24 hours after intake
Athletes who use nitrates - for example in the form of beetroot, green leafy vegetables or supplements - consume them generally about 2-3 hours before competing or training. The concentrations of nitrate, nitrite and nitrogen monoxide in the blood are at an optimal level after 2-3 hours. But that doesn't mean that the nitrates have no effect after that, sports scientists at Florida State University discovered. They still observed a significant performance improvement 24 hours after the last intake among CrossFit athletes who had taken potassium nitrate.
The researchers did an experiment with 12 male CrossFit athletes aged between 20 and 35. The athletes took 2 capsules a day for 6 days - one in the morning, one in the evening - on two different occasions. On one occasion the capsules contained 4 millimoles potassium nitrate [NO]; on the other occasion they contained 4 millimoles potassium chloride [PL].
The capsules were produced by the Shaklee Corporation, [shaklee.com] a supplements manufacturer. Shaklee funded the research.
The researchers tested the participants before and after supplementation. One day after the participants had taken their last capsule, the researchers measured their strength, endurance capacity and speed. One day after that the participants had to complete a CrossFit workout.
About 24 hours after the last intake of the supplement the researchers observed no effect on strength or endurance capacity. But they did observe that the participants were still capable of developing more speed. To be more precise: the participants were able to develop more peak power when they did the Wingate test. This test involves cycling as fast as possible for 30 seconds.
One day after the last intake of potassium nitrate there was no effect to be seen on strength or endurance capacity.
The supplement had no effect either on performance during the CrossFit workout 48 hours after the last intake.
"Six days of dietary nitrate supplementation in male CrossFit athletes improved peak Wingate power 24 h following the final nitrate dose," the researchers summarised. "However, there were no improvements in rowing time-trial or CrossFit performance."
"Future research is warranted to elucidate mechanisms responsible for changes in peak power output, improve methods for assessing CrossFit performance, and further investigate whether nitrate supplementation enhances performance in strength and power-based sports."
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Nov 3;13:39.
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