Nitrate-rich beetroot juice ingestion can improve exercise performance in trained athletes who typically perform high-intensity, intermittent type exercise, such as footballers. For well-trained endurance athletes, such as cyclists, exogenous nitrate supplementation may provide little or no ergogenic benefit. This is shown in research conducted at Maastricht University and Maastricht UMC+ under the supervision of Dr Lex Verdijk and Prof. Luc van Loon. Jean Nyakayiru was recently awarded his PhD on the basis of this research.
The performance-enhancing effects of nitrate in recreational athletes have been researched before, but hard evidence of its effects in highly trained athletes has not been available until now. Maastricht researchers from the Department of Human Biology studied what happens to nitrate in the body and looked at its effects on the performance of highly trained football players and highly trained cyclists.