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Should I consider nitrate supplements as a runner to boost performance?

Yes, supplementing nitrate via beetroot juice or nitrate shots can boost performance. However, results vary based on training status and individual differences. Remember: start with well-balanced diet as your primary strategy to optimize overall performance, before considering supplements.

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Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 14-02-2024
Olav Kooij showing his nitrate supplement

Why can a nitrate support my running performance?

Nitrate serves as a precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can reduce the oxygen costs associated with muscle exertion during exercise. This becomes particularly beneficial in exercise where oxygen availability can be the limited factor such as in shorter, high-intensity or anaerobic types of exercise. By improving the efficiency of oxygen utilization in muscles, nitrate supplements like beetroot juice or nitrate shots can potentially boost performance.

How do I get my nitrate intake on point?

Please note that your daily diet also contains nitrate, for example by eating beetroot and green, leavy vegetables (like rocket and spinach). However, nitrate content of these foods can vary widely. Therefore, it's best to rely on a specific nitrate supplement where nitrate content is known when you opt for optimizing performance:

  1. Loading phase: Take beetroot juice or a nitrate shot for 3-7 days prior to the event to 'load' nitrate in your muscles. Try to have 400-800mg of nitrate per day. This corresponds with 1-2 nitrate shots that are commercially available.
  2. Before the race: Take the final portion of nitrate (1 shot) 2,5-3 hours before the start of the event.

Research shows that the better an athlete is trained, the longer the loading phase and the higher the dose needs to be. This means if you are less trained, 3 days of loading with 1 nitrate shot per day might already result in better performances. In contrast, an elite athlete might need to load for 7 days with a double dose, to get a similar increase in performance.

Use The FoodCoach App to structure your training and receive customized nutrient recommendations. Use nitrate supplements like beetroot juice or a nitrate shot cautiously alongside the personalized nutrition plan. For issue solving please consult a FoodCoach expert for further guidance.

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