Dietary nitrate supplementation is used by many athletes to enhance sports performance. The potential ergogenic effects of nitrate are attributed to its endogenous reduction into nitrite and, subsequently, nitric oxide (NO), thereby increasing the bioavailability of this highly bioactive compound, which regulates several processes such as blood flow and muscle contraction. Nitrate supplementation seems to be more effective under conditions where oxygen is a limiting factor.
Acute effects of nitrate include vasodilation and thereby increased systemic blood flow and oxygen supply, while the more ‘adaptive’ effects seem to concern improvements at the myocellular level, such as enhanced contractility and decreased oxygen cost of ATP production. In this thesis, we aimed to provide further insight into how nitrate supplementation can be used to enhance sports performance, under which conditions, and in which athletes. One of the focus areas of this thesis was to investigate whether elite athletes can benefit from dietary nitrate supplementation.
Defence date: 13/09/18