London, England
Tuesday 10th July 2012

Several weeks ago I posted an interview that UKA Consultant Exercise Physiologist, Dr Andy Jones & I had filmed whilst we were out on an endurance camp in Font Romeu.  Andy discussed the physiological mechanisms behind the ergogenic effects of dietary nitrate supplementation & how he advocated beetroot juice for the endurance athletes, as a means to getting the necessary quantities on board.

A study published last month in the Journal of Physiology has investigated the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation in mice & reported an enhanced handling of calcium ions in fast twitch muscle cells, which resulted in greater force production. 

Hernandez et al (2012) supplemented water fed to an experimental group of mice with 1mM sodium nitrate for a 7 day period, before dissecting the muscle tissue & found that myoplasmic calcium concentration was much greater than in the control group tissue at stimulation frequencies from 20-150 Hz.  This variation in turn resulted in a significant increase in force production at frequencies below 50 Hz & a 35% quicker rate of force development at 100 Hz stimulation.

This investigation is obviously testing a very different hypothesis to the ones tested by Andy to justify his prescription of dietary nitrate supplementation for endurance athletes, however, this may promote further research into the benefits of dietary nitrate supplementation for athletes competing in more explosive events & sports.  Furthermore, if these results could be replicated in human subjects, there may be scope for sports physiotherapists & conditioning coaches to collaborate with nutritionists with a view to introducing dietary nitrate supplementation during rehabilitation phases & key periods of weights programmes.

Hernandez, A. et al (2012).  Dietary nitrate increases tetanic[Ca2 ]i & contractile force in mouse fast-twitch muscle.  J of Physiology; vol 590 (13)

blog comments powered by Disqus