By Rafal Nazarewicz
Veggies are the greatest source of nitrates
Nitrates, Nitric Oxide, and Their Benefits
A lot of supplements are very controversial and, in most of the cases, science does not support claimed beneficial effects. Nitric oxide is one of a few natural substances proven to boost physical (and not only♂️) performance! It can enhance our body potential by up to 5%! Nitric oxide is a gas that we humans generate in an enzymatic reaction in our cells. Its precursors, nitrates, can be easily provided with food. Since nitric oxide is not stored in our cells because of its short half-life (milliseconds), dietary nitrates are appreciated for their long half-life (5-8hours!!!) and the ability to provide steady levels of nitric oxide in the blood.
Dietary nitrates are reduced in our body to produce nitric oxide in a sequence of reactions mediated by bacteria and enzymatic systems, and compounds with redox potential (including hemoglobin, vitamin C, and polyphenols).
Nitric oxide is a potent signaling molecule that
- promotes vasodilation (improved microcirculation)
- support cardiovascular and cognitive functions
- improves exercise tolerance and mitochondrial functions
- has anti-inflammatory potential
Nitrates which turn into nitric oxide directly act on smooth muscle cells in the blood vessel walls, relax them and thus increase blood flow. This, in turn, improves oxygen supply to the tissue, metabolite delivery to and from the muscle.
Long-term metabolic effects are associated with nitric oxide effects on cell signaling pathways that enhance metabolism and promote muscle cells growth. Additionally, some studies also suggested improved indicators of muscular fatigue, though the mechanism involved in this effect remains unclear.
Dietary nitrates acute positive effects on muscles contractile efficiency during large muscle exercise has been known for a long time. These beneficial effects are due to the improvement of skeletal muscle blood flow and metabolic effects. The effects of dietary nitrates on endurance capacity mediated by nitric oxide and its effects on mitochondrial biogenesis is less frequently studied. However, there is a lot of evidence to believe that nitrates positively impact the metabolic capacity of muscles. Just another important argument why we should consume large amounts of veggies.
Nitrates, Nitric Oxide, and Mitochondria
The number of mitochondria in your muscles determine your endurance
What is most exciting for endurance athletes is that nitric oxide promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and may slow down cellular aging. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your muscle cells used for low-intensity exercise (important for marathon, ultramarathon runners, cyclists, triathletes). Mitochondrial biogenesis is a process by which cells increase the number of mitochondria and their mass. It leads to improved ability to generate ATP in oxidative phosphorylation (which is essential for endurance athletes). One of the most important biochemical outcomes of endurance training is increased number of mitochondria in muscle. Nitric oxide supports this process. Recent studies show that nitric oxide acts synergistically with training on signaling pathways promoting mitochondrial biogenesis in muscles. This opens new possibilities to support and improve training adaptation through diet.
It is worth to mention that nitrite reduction to nitric oxide is greatly enhanced during hypoxemia and ischemia (conditions encounter during strenuous physical activity). Which means that physical activity promotes nitric oxide production and its health benefits (#keepmoving)
David Laney while working on the number of mitochondria in his muscles
Additionally, nitrite by itself exerts unique intracellular signaling properties that mediate physiologic functions independent of its role as a source of nitric oxide. Nitrite induces rapid local vasodilation, reduces blood pressure and serves as an endocrine reservoir of nitric oxide. Nitrite has also been shown to play a role in mitochondrial respiration, cardiac function, activation of the estrogen receptor, and cell death.
Eat More Veggies
Beets provide a significant amount of nitrates
Health benefits of veggies are frequently attributed to vitamins, minerals, fiber, and so-called nonnutritive substances such as flavonoids. Inorganic nitrate (NO3-) content is frequently overlooked.
Green leafy veggies and beetroot contain high levels of inorganic nitrate, and its intake very efficiently increases blood nitric oxide.
While your diet throughout the year should be rich in nitric oxide, increasing nitrate consumption one-week prior to a race may help to improve your performance, especially at higher intensities.
Following foods are good sources of nitrates: broccoli, celery, spinach, beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, eggplant.
Remember!!! Power Rush is loaded with beetroot! We add ingredients that provide nitrates to your body to offer potential benefits linked to food sources of nitrates!
Meredith Edward loading nitrates