Beetroot supplements -- sometimes found in tablet form, sometimes as a juice -- contain nitrate, which improves your cardiovascular health and boosts athletic performance. Another active ingredient, the phytonutrient betaine, is an antioxidant that may help regulate blood sugar. Researchers continue to study the benefits and effectiveness of beetroot supplements. This means that a list of benefits remains a work in progress rather than a complete summary of all the potential advantages from taking beetroot supplements.
Lower Blood Pressure
Many vegetables contain nitrate, but beetroot is one of the best sources. When you consume beetroot, your body converts the natural nitrate into nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles in blood vessel walls and lowers blood pressure. Researchers verified that drinking beetroot juice boosts blood levels of nitric oxide and helps reduce blood pressure, according to a review published in the Journal of Nutrition in June 2013. Beetroot juice may also improve symptoms caused by another type of cardiovascular disease -- peripheral artery disease -- which reduces blood flow in legs and causes pain during walking, report researchers in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Improve Athletic Performance
Consuming beetroot supplements may boost athletic performance. Beetroot juice enhances nitric oxide production in muscles, which increases blood flow, improves levels of oxygen and may support muscle contraction. A study published in Nutrients in February 2014 reported that swimmers who took beetroot juice supplements performed better and used less energy to perform the task. Another study found that competitive cyclists improved their performance by nearly 3 percent in 4-kilometer and 16-kilometer time trials, according to a study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in June 2011.
Regulate Insulin Response
Beetroot juice contains natural antioxidants known as betaines, which are similar to other phytochemicals known to affect blood sugar. When researchers studied the effect of beetroot juice on blood glucose, participants who drank beetroot juice had significantly lower blood sugar after consuming carbohydrates than the participants who did not consume beetroot juice, according to a report in the Journal of Nutritional Science in April 2014. The report also noted that researchers are just beginning to study the potential of betaine and other phytochemicals to regulate blood sugar and more studies are needed to verify their effectiveness.
No matter what form of supplement you prefer, you'll find one that works for you because beetroot is available in all forms, from capsules and lozenges to concentrated powder and bottles of juice. Many brands only contain beetroot, while others add extra vitamins and nutrients. While the nutrition facts label states the total amount of beetroot, it usually doesn't specify the amount of active ingredients, such as nitrate and betaine. Talk to your health care provider before taking beetroot supplements if you have cardiovascular disease or you take prescription medications, recommends Today's Dietitian.
- Today’s Dietitian: Reap the Benefits of Beetroot Juice
- Journal of Nutrition: Inorganic Nitrate and Beetroot Juice Supplementation Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Journal of Applied Physiology: Dietary Nitrate Supplementation Enhances Exercise Performance in Peripheral Arterial Disease
- Nutrients: Effect of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Aerobic Response During Swimming
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Acute Dietary Nitrate Supplementation Improves Cycling Time Trial Performance
- Journal of Nutritional Science: Effects of a Beetroot Juice With High Neobetanin Content on the Early-Phase Insulin Response in Healthy Volunteers