Drinking beetroot juice a day significantly improved physical endurance and blood pressure in elderly people suffering from a common heart disease: heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. It is a form of heart failure (HF) representing about half of the cases of this pathology.
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction often causes specific symptoms such as exaggerated shortness of breath and significant fatigue during physical exercise, sometimes even light. These symptoms are caused in part by a non-cardiac origin which reduces the supply of oxygen to the muscles of the body. ICFEP is a recently recognized condition affecting mostly older women that reflects how the left ventricle pumps blood with each heartbeat.
Effects of nitrate
Emerging evidence suggests that nitrate supplements found in beet juice in particular have positive effects on blood pressure, vascular health, exercise and oxygen metabolism. We know that nitrate is transformed in the body into nitric oxide (NO), a molecule with an important hypotensive effect.
Study in detail
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA) enrolled 19 participants aged 69 or older with ICFEP in a double-blind, randomized (randomized) study.
Participants received beet juice or a placebo in a single or multiple doses for a few days. First, certain parameters such as tension and endurance were measured right after the participants received a single dose of beetroot juice or placebo.
Then the researchers gave beetroot juice to the 19 participants over an average of 7 days and again measured tension and endurance. The volume of beet juice used was about 60 ml and contained about 6 mmol of inorganic nitrate.
The North Carolina team found that taking beetroot juice daily improved aerobic endurance by 24% after 1 week, compared to the single dose which showed no improvement.
Another result of this research work showed that the consumption of beetroot juice reduced resting systolic pressure by 5 to 10 mmHg as much in those who consumed 1 single or several doses of this juice. No particular side effects were observed.
Quality of life
These first results suggest that a daily intake of beetroot juice for 1 week could be a potential therapeutic alternative to improve aerobic endurance in patients suffering from ICFEP, which should improve daily activities and the quality of life
This study was published in the online version of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Heart Failure.
Increased endurance and lowered blood pressure in athletes
In the past, several studies have been published on beet juice showing its benefit in lowering blood pressure and increasing endurance.
A British study from the University of Exeter had notably concluded that the consumption of beetroot juice increased the time or duration of an athlete’s activity by 16%, in other words the athlete took longer before feeling the tired.
At the end of 2014, another study carried out in Great Britain by the Queen Mary University of London showed that the daily consumption of 250 ml of beetroot juice for 4 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg. .