Athletes may be caught juicing with a new performance enhancing product soon. But this product is legal and it really is juice. Recent studies have been conducted with competitive cyclists and a somewhat foreign ingredient called beetroot juice.
Athletes in these tests were given the beetroot juice before a time trial. Multiple distances were timed and the cyclists who drank the complete beetroot formula were found to be over 2.5% faster than they were without the juice.
Beetroot juice is a natural source of nitrate. The nitrate ingredient is what is believed to be causing the enhanced performance. Nitrate widens blood vessels which lowers blood pressure and allows for more blood flow. Nitrate also reduces the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity. These two effects combined are the source for the improved performance of the cyclists in the research.
The cycling tests have surely sparked the interest of other athletes as well. If this natural and legal product can improve performance in one physical area, it seems plausible that it can help improve the performance of other activities as well. When dealing with sports, where seconds can mean the difference between second place or champion, beetroot juice may soon needs its own sports agent.