Summarizing the 5 Benefits of Beetroot Supplements

There are a ton of different vegetables and foods to be considered superfoods. It seems beetroot is heavily misrepresented in this superfood group.
The main benefits of beetroot supplementation will be linked to its high nitrate, high betalain and high electrolyte content.

I have purposefully decided to keep this article rather concise and short. The few main effects of beetroot are definitely powerful, but also quickly explained.

Benefits of Beetroot Supplements – the short answer

Supplementing beetroot essentially has the following effects:

  • Beetroot’s high dietary nitrates improve exercise performance by converting to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, enhances blood flow, and increases oxygen to muscles.
  • Increases nitric oxide production, lowers blood pressure, improves endothelial function, and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, contributing to healthier blood vessels and reduced heart disease risk.
  • Improves blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive functions, mood, and neuroplasticity, while reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially mitigating neurodegenerative disease risks.
  • Though less effective in supplement form compared to whole beetroot, the antioxidant properties of betalains support liver detoxification, protect digestive tract cells, and reduce inflammation, promoting gut health.
  • Contains melatonin and significant levels of magnesium and potassium, which may support sleep health by regulating sleep cycles and promoting muscle and nervous system relaxation.

1. Enhances Athletic Performance

Beetroot is exceptionally high in dietary nitrates (NO3) compounds. Those play a crucial role in our human physiology, especially in exercise performance. I’ve already written an article about the role of nitric oxide for enhancing gym performance. Beetroot is a natural source of NO3. Our body converts the nitrates into nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator. This means it widens blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and therefore increases “the pump” for strength workouts.

The conversion works as follows: Dietary nitrates from beetroot are reduced to nitric oxide by bacteria in the mouth, the surface of the tongue or the stomach. The NO can then be used when in conditions of low oxygen availability – for example exercise.
This means muscles can operate more efficiently due to more oxygen being available and more blood being brought into the muscle strains.

The direct findings are that NO improves endurances, increases stamina, and improves exercise performance.

2. Supports Heart Health

Next to beetroot’s effect of increasing the nitric oxide production, beetroot supplements have a range of beneficial effects on heart health. Heart issues are one of the main issues marked in western societies today due to insufficient movement, bad nutrition and all the negative impacts of the modern lifestyle.

Beetroot supplements decrease the blood pressure, which for most people is slightly elevated.
Studies have shown that beetroot supplements lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And this makes a lot of sense. Decreasing especially the systolic blood pressure is key for decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, beetroot seems to improve the endothelial function. Endothelia are the inner linings of the blood vessels. Many people with heart disease are shown to have very bad endothelial function and oftentimes damages blood vessels. Healthier blood vessels, again, lead to lower blood pressure, better blood flow and promoting healthy blood flow.

These points are all interlinked and therefore should simply give an overview. Next to many other plants and substances, beetroot contains a lot of antioxidants. In beetroot you will mainly find betalains, which protect against oxidative stress and thereby reduce inflammation. Both of these factors are very important for heart health, but also general health. Inflammation levels are key indicators for almost all modern illnesses.
Other foods with high antioxidant content are for example blueberries, cranberries or green tea.

Beetroot can be seen as a natural gym supplement. Through the high content in available NO more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the cells through dilated blood vessels and therefore higher blood flow to the cells. This boosts the mitochondria efficiency and thereby boosts ATP output.

I am not absolutely sure about the dangers and benefits of cholesterol, yet. Cholesterol are essentially blood fat levels. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information around it. High LDL is the assumed “bad” cholesterol. Beetroot seems to decrease the levels of LDL and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Simultaneously beetroot seems to increase HDL, which is the desired cholesterol in the blood lipid profile.

3. Boosts Brain Health

Next to improving heart health, beetroot also has a great effect on our human brain health. Especially for improved blood flow to the brain, better brain metabolism and neuroprotective effects.

Through the dilated blood vessels and increase in nitric oxide, more blood is also pumped to the brain.
As the brain essentially also is a muscle, more blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients shoveled towards our cognitive center. This provides a range of positive, subsequent effects. Some of these can be improved memory, problem-solving abilities and better concentration.
Improved nitric oxide levels are also linked to mood improvement and reduced risk of depression.
On top of these benefits, neuroplasticity is also improved by the high levels of nitrates in beetroot. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form new connections and pathways.

Through the aforementioned betalain content of beetroot oxidative stress and inflammation is reduced in the brain. Those two damage neurons over time and therefore reduce the brain’s capability to function.
Especially for older people whose brain tends to decline this is very important. This can be perfectly combined with Lion’s Mane mushroom, which increases the production of the Nerve Growth Factor protein. NGF is responsible for the brain stem cell production and helps to repair and improve brain centers, especially connected to memory and learning abilities.

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia are all linked to high inflammation levels in the brain. Beetroot helps tackle this issue by neutralizing free radicals, which are also highly linked to cancer development.

A few studies (linked below) have shown that consumption of beetroot supplements improves cognitive performance on tasks that measure reaction time, decision-making, and executive function. This is especially prevalent for older adults, but obviously is also crucial for longevity purposes if you’re younger.

4. Improves Digestive Health

Here we’ll have to make a distinction. It does obviously make a difference if you’re actually eating the full beetroot to ingesting a supplement in terms of digestive health. By eating full beetroot you’re attaining the benefits through fiber. As it’s quite impractical to actually eat full beetroot every day I personally make the trade off and simply swallow two pills of 600 mg of beetroot in the morning.

The antioxidant betalains in beetroot have shown to support the body detoxify. This may also be why beetroot is found in many healthy smoothies and shakes.
Betalains enhance the liver’s capability to detoxify in the phase 2 of the body detoxification process. This is where toxins are made water-soluble for excretion.
Also, betalains protect the cells lining the digestive tracts and thereby stabilize the integrity of it.

Chronic inflammation in the gut and colon are highly linked to colon cancer. The anti-inflammatory effects of beetroot actually decreases these levels of inflammation and thereby also decreases the risk for IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). In western medicine it’s becoming an increasing trend to wake up to the effects of the health gut microbiome.

An indirect effect of beetroot consumption and therefore better gut health is the effect on the immune system. The immune system is heavily located to gut health and therefore protects against pathogens.

5. May Help Support Sleep

The effects of beetroot on sleep will not be as far extended as other supplements.

Beetroot does have a small content of melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles. Melatonin excretion is mainly influenced by light. Melatonin production in the body is done by the hypophysis in the brain and is oftentimes destabilized through sitting in front of light sources (aka displays) for too long into the dark.
Consuming beetroot on a regular basis therefore may contribute in small amounts to the sleep health through it’s melatonin components, but certainly not in a great extent.

What does have another huge impact on sleep is the content of electrolytes in beetroot, though.
Magnesium and potassium are two of the major electrolytes needed, most people are deficient in both.
Magnesium, which I’ve covered in multiple separate articles has a tremendous effect on the muscles and nervous system’s ability to relax. Potassium regulates muscle contractions and heart rhythm and thereby contributes to a restful sleep. This effect is multiplied when having high levels of NO in the body.

Conclusion

That’s it regarding beetroot. I personally ingest two capsules of each 600mg of beetroot concentrate. That’s about 6 grams of actual beetroot.
The main effect I see after a few months of taking it is increased gym performance. I tend to sweat more during workouts and the pump seems to be increased.
Also, I seem to recover quicker, which could also be connected to other practices as sauna and sleep quality though.

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