Dietary inoraginc nitrates, as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot juice, may enhance muscle endurance by boosting mitochondrial efficiency, according to new research. The study, publised in Cell Metabolism, reported that short-term increases in dietary nitrates can bosst musle efficiency of the mitochondira that power our cells.
Mitochondria are the powers houses of our cells and produce ATP (the chemical form of energy) out of fuel. In the study there was aqctually a 19% increase in the amount of ATP produced per oxygen used. Beetroot jucie, which is also high in nitrates, has been shown by research to improve running economyand extend endurance time to exhaustion.
In this study, the researchers reported that after taking a small dose of inorganic nitrate for three days, volunteers consumed less oxygen while riding an exercise bike. Also, skeletal muscle mitochindria showed an improvment in efficiency, which was strongly related to this reduction in oxygen cost during excerise.
Ref: Larsen TA et al (2011). Cell Metabolism. 13(2);149-159