Ergogenic effects of beetroot juice supplementation during severe-intensity exercise in obese adolescents

Letizia Rasica, Simone Porcelli, Mauro Marzorati, Desy Salvadego, Alessandra Vezzoli, Fiorenza Agosti, Alessandra De Col, Gabriella Tringali, Andrew M. Jones, Alessandro Sartorio, Bruno Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies showed a higher O2 cost of exercise, and therefore, a reduced exercise tolerance in patients with obesity during constant work rate (CWR) exercise compared with healthy subjects. Among the ergogenic effects of dietary nitrate (NO 3) supplementation in sedentary healthy subjects, a reduced O2 cost and enhanced exercise tolerance have often been demonstrated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of beetroot juice (BR) supplementation, rich in NO 3, on physiological variables associated with exercise tolerance in adolescents with obesity. In a double-blind, randomized crossover study, 10 adolescents with obesity (8 girls, 2 boys; age + 16 ± 1 yr; body mass index + 35.2 ± 5.0 kg/m2) were tested after 6 days of supplementation with BR (5 mmol NO 3 per day) or placebo (PLA). Following each supplementation period, patients carried out two repetitions of 6-min moderate-intensity CWR exercise and one severe-intensity CWR exercise until exhaustion. Plasma NO3 concentration was significantly higher in BR versus PLA (108 ± 37 vs. 15 ± 5 μM, P < 0.0001). The O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise was‒1·W‒1not different in BR versus PLA (13.3 ± 1.7 vs. 12.9 ± 1.1 ml·min, P + 0.517). During severe-intensity exercise, signs of a reduced amplitude of the O2 uptake slow component were observed in BR, in association with a significantly longer time to exhaustion (561 ± 198 s in BR vs. 457 ± 101 s in PLA, P + 0.0143). In obese adolescents, short-term dietary NO 3 supplementation is effective in improving exercise tolerance during severe-intensity exercise. This may prove to be useful in counteracting early fatigue and reduced physical activity in this at-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R453-R460
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Endurance exercise
  • Nitric oxide
  • O uptake kinetics
  • Obesity
  • Oxidative metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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