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Is beet juice healthy or dangerous for avid athletes?

  1. Beet juice is used by some endurance athletes. The high nitrate content in beet juice is said to improve performance and stamina. Whether this is really the case has not been researched well enough. We advise athletes to be cautious about the use of beet juice and other nitrate-rich sports supplements. The possible positive effect of beet juice would be related to the positive effects of nitrate intake on oxygen utilization. Nitrate is converted into nitrite in the body. This nitrite is converted back into nitrogen monoxide, also known as "nitric oxide" (NO). NO would improve the blood flow to the muscles, which increases the oxygen supply.

Health effects of beet juice

  1. Effects have been measured, but it does not appear to have effects for all athletes. Furthermore, intestinal complaints occur in some cases. The guidelines for dietitians who work with competitive athletes (Wardenaar Diet Treatment Guideline for Competitive Athletes, 2014) indicate that beet juice may be effective, but that more research is needed.

No health claims for beet juice

  1. No health claims have been approved for beet juice or other nitrate-rich supplements. When it comes to the assessment of health effects of food and nutritional supplements, the Netherlands Nutrition Center follows the health claims assessments of EFSA. In Europe, the Health Claims Regulation (1924/2006 / EC) applies. This states that health claims may only be used if there is sufficient scientific substantiation. This also includes "sports claims". The scientific dossiers are checked by EFSA and when approved, the products are allowed to state the health claims.

Exceeded acceptable intake

  1. Beet juice and its concentrates are not included in the EFSA safety evaluation of nitrate in vegetables. Since the intake of nitrate from beet juice is in addition to the daily intake of nitrate from other sources, exceedances of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) will be more frequent

Advice: do not use these products on a daily basis

  1. In case of uncertainties about food safety

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