Nitric Oxide: Is Healthy Eating Equal to Doping?

Nitric Oxide: Is Healthy Eating Equal to Doping?


(whooshing noises) – Hi, Tobias here from
sciencebackedhealth.com. In this video, we will talk about how you can boost athletic performance by increasing your nitric
oxide levels through your diet. Nitric oxide gets produced by our body when we eat foods that contain nitrates. So, you can increase
your nitric oxide levels by consuming foods high in nitrates. One of the foods highest in nitrates are beetroot, beet juice,
and dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula and rocket. The inner lining of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to signal
the surround smooth muscles to relax, resulting in vasodilation, the dilation of your blood vessels which increases blood flow. So, by consuming nitrate-rich foods that your body converts into nitric oxide. Your body can then deliver
more blood and oxygen to your muscles which is one of the ways how nitric oxide can improve
athletic performance. Not only food works this way. Viagra is a common example of a drug that uses the nitric oxide pathway to allow the body to transport more blood but, for daily usage, it’s probably a better idea
to use a health-promoting food instead of taking a drug. And it also has fewer side effects. But, by how much could
simply eating your veggies actually improve your performance? In this double-blind placebo
controlled crossover trial a group of 11 recreationally
fit people underwent two five kilometer time
trials in random sequence, once 75 minutes after consuming
200 grams of baked beetroot just under half a pound,
and once 75 minutes after consuming cranberry
relish as a placebo. In the earlier portions
of the five kilometer run there was no difference
between the two time trials but during the last 1.1
miles or 1.8 kilometers of the five kilometer run, the running velocity was 5%
faster in the beetroot trial, which resulted in a 3% faster
running speed on average. In some sports, fractions of
a second can secure a win. So, 3% could make a big difference. The performance boosting
effects of nitrates seem to be especially noticeable in situations where oxygen is low, where it allows for a more efficient use of oxygen in the body. In this randomized crossover study nine competitive male
cyclists were assigned to either consume half a
liter of beetroot juice, around 17 ounces, or the same amount of nitrate depleted beetroot juice. They then performed a
four kilometer time trial and a 16 kilometer time trial where they raced the distances
as quickly as possible. In both of the time trials, the group with the regular beetroot juice completed the trial almost 3% quicker. Again, showing an effect
of nitrate consumption on athletic performance. But there are sports where beetroot can make an
even bigger difference. I’ve been a passionate
free diver for years and I was very excited when I heard about the following studies. 12 well-trained apnea divers were assigned to hold their breath after consuming a
concentrated 70 milliliter beetroot shot or a placebo. After consuming the beetroot juice, they were able to hold their breath, on average, 11% longer, which if you ask me, is quite amazing for just consuming some vegetable juice. In this study, free divers swam on the surface for 75 meters around 250 feet, after
consuming either 70 milliliters of a concentrated beetroot
juice shot or a placebo. Then, directly after the dive, their blood-oxygen saturation was measured and, on average, the
beetroot juice resulted in a 6% increased oxygen saturation suggesting an oxygen conserving effect of dietary nitrate supplementation. Nitrates also made the news when in 2015, the World
Health Organization announced that processed
meats cause cancer because these meats are often processed by using nitrates or nitrites. These nitrates are the same molecules like the ones in vegetables. But the effects they have on
the body are very different. Nitrates have been linked
to adverse health effects except when consumed in
the form of vegetables. Consuming nitrates in processed meats has carcinogenic and
health damaging effects. But when we consume the same nitrates in the form of unprocessed plants then the exact opposite is the case where they have various
health-promoting effects. If you want to benefit from these effects, then, one easy way is to add
cooked beets to your salad which is what I do and what I recommend. You can buy them already cooked at the refrigerated vegetable section at every grocery store. You can also make beet
juice yourself at home or save yourself some time by buying it at a grocery store where
you’ll find them for usually pretty low prices. Many beetroot related performance studies are done by consuming half
a liter of beet juice, around 17 ounces, one to
two hours before exercise. I personally don’t mind drinking
such a rather large amount but for people who don’t like that, you can get the same amount of nitrates from concentrated shots that are more like 0.07
liters or 2.4 ounces. They are just a bit easier
to transport and to consume but are otherwise the exact same. Except, they are not usually
available at a lot of stores. So, if you want them, you’ll have to order
them from the Internet. You can find links to some
great ones in the description. And, otherwise, just eat your salad. Oh, and if you want to try
this 100% legal form of doping then there’s one more
thing that you should know. In 10% to 14% of the population
beets can temporarily change the color of your urine and poop. So, be aware of that and don’t freak out when it looks like you have
internal bleeding, you don’t. This is called beeturia
which is, in and of itself, a completely harmless condition. In some people, though, it
is connected to, for example, an iron deficiency or
gastric acid imbalances. So, if you do have it,
it is worth it to examine if there is a specific reason for it but it’s certainly not as
dramatic as it might look. That’s it, now you know
how to use nitric oxide to boost your athletic performance. Did you try beet doping yourself already? And if you did, did you notice
a difference in performance? Let me know in the comments below. If you like this video, please
share it with your friends. This really helps the show and be sure to subscribe
with the notification bell on if you want to see more
videos like this one. Thank you very much for watching. And I’ll see you in the next video. (upbeat music)

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