Loughborough University and Bio-Gen agree beetroot extract-based pact

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock

Related tags: beetroot, Bio-gen, Loughborough University

The UK’s Loughborough University has finalised a collaboration with Bio-gen Extracts to study the firm’s beetroot extract and its role in exercise performance and cardiovascular health.

The multi-year pact, which will be supervised by the University’s Dr Stephen Bailey, looks to delve further into Bio-gen’s red beetroot that contains around 6% of inorganic nitrate.

In a growing body of research, this form of nitrate is said to increase performance and muscle oxygen extraction during endurance exercise tests.

These studies have accelerated understanding of nitrates in biological processes, including regulation of blood flow, cellular signalling, glucose homeostasis, and tissue responses to low oxygen levels (hypoxia).

Nitrate is one of the dietary ingredients endorsed by World Athletics as being generally regarded as boosting performance, and there have been reports of sports teams around the world adopting beetroot juice as part of their nutrition strategies.

Human clinical trials

“Through this partnership with Bio-gen Extracts, we will conduct a series of human clinical trials to assess the potential of dietary nitrate supplementation, administered as TruBeet, to improve exercise performance and cardiovascular function,”says​ Dr Bailey, who is Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at the University.

“Dietary nitrate has emerged over the last decade as a nutritional strategy to improve aspects of cardiovascular function, such as lowering blood pressure, and to improve physiological and performance responses during different types of exercise.”

Bio-Gen’s TruBeet provides a high concentration of all-natural nitrates purely derived from beetroot.

The raw material is grown and sourced from Southern India and manufactured using a water extraction process, resulting in a neutral-tasting and water-soluble powder,

Available in powder from, the ingredient is suitable for a variety of end-product applications in sports nutrition that include sachets, beverages, health bars, chewable capsules and tablets.

“These trials are important to further understanding of the efficacy of dietary nitrate supplementation to improve human cardiovascular health and exercise performance,”​ adds Dr Bailey.

“They will also provide important information on the conditions in which nitrate supplementation has greater potential to improve cardiovascular health and exercise performance, which will help inform dietary nitrate supplementation recommendations.”

Beetroot studies

Despite research generally pointing to nitrate’s benefits, there have been findings that urge restraint as to the ingredient’s efficacy.

Canadian researchers have determined via a meta analysis​ that nitrate supplementation may be beneficial in some aspects of endurance sports, but caution that the data supporting the notion is mediocre at best.

Meanwhile, a study suggested it may not exert any benefits as a post-marathon recovery aid.

Data published​ in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​ ​found beetroot ingestion within 48 hours of finishing a marathon did not lead to a faster recovery compared to placebo.

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