If you suffer with COPD, visit high altitudes, or do intense exercise, you know what it feels like when you don't get enough oxygen when you breathe. At best, it's uncomfortable. At worst, it can be very scary and even cause you to pass out or experience other problems, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and headaches. And chronic oxygen deprivation can weaken your muscles.
In the past, the only answer medicine had was to give you more oxygen. You may have seen football players holding oxygen masks to their face when they can't get enough oxygen. Or doctors give you drugs to help you breathe better. But these have negative side effects. Fortunately, we're now finding more answers to this problem. Now, instead of increasing the amount of oxygen you receive, researchers are discovering natural ways to help your body use the oxygen you're already getting more effectively.
One of those ways is by simply drinking beetroot juice. A recent study from the University of Exeter found that beetroot juice can boost your stamina and athletic performance. While this study focused on athletes, the information is vital for anyone who struggles to get enough oxygen.
In this study, the researchers looked at seven men who drank 500 mL per day of beetroot juice or a placebo for six days. The researchers measured the men's athletic performance the last three days of the study. They had the men perform both low-intensity and high-intensity step exercises.
The muscles of the men drinking the beetroot juice needed less ATP to produce the same force. That means their muscles needed less oxygen to perform the same tasks. They stayed strong despite the lower oxygen levels. This allowed these men to perform high-intensity exercises longer before becoming exhausted.
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Other studies have found that beetroot juice can reduce your need for oxygen during moderate-intensity cycling by 19%. And it also increased how long they could do high-intensity cycling by 17%.
Why does beetroot juice work? Beetroot is naturally high in nitrate (NO3). Nitrate is a compound that the body metabolizes into nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide. I've shown you in the past that nitric oxide can help your body perform much better under low-oxygen conditions. It greatly helps your circulation, which makes your body deliver oxygen to your cells more efficiently. It also helps regulate blood pressure and inhibit inflammation.
So if you're looking to improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure, or help your body use oxygen better, try drinking some beetroot juice for breakfast. You can find it in most health food stores and online. If you don't care for beetroot juice, or need more assistance than it can provide, you might want to try CircO2. This chewable supplement delivers more nitrates (which convert to NO) than the juice. And it works incredibly well. I use it to enhance my exercise. And whenever I visit family in Colorado, it helps me avoid altitude sickness. I still notice shortness of breath, but I don't get the nausea and headaches I get when I don't take it.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
"Dietary nitrate supplementation enhances muscle contractile efficiency during knee-extensor exercise in humans," Bailey SJ, Fulford J, et al, J Appl Physiol, 2010 May 13.