Dietary beetroot juice (BR) supplementation has been shown to reduce the oxygen (O 2) consumption of standardized exercise and reduce resting blood pressure (BP) in healthy individuals. However, the physiological response of BR in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains controversial. The objective was to test exercise performance in COPD, supplementing with higher doses of BR for a longer duration compared to previous trials in this patient group.
Fifteen COPD patients consumed concentrated BR (2×70 mL twice daily, each containing 300 mg nitrate) or placebo (PL) (2×70 mL twice daily, nitrate-negligible) in a randomized order for 6 consecutive days. On day 7, participants consumed either BR or PL 150 min before testing. BP was measured before completing 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and two trials of submaximal cycling. The protocol was repeated after a minimum washout of 7 days.
Plasma nitrite concentration was higher in the BR condition compared to PL ( P<0.01). There was no difference between the BR and PL conditions regarding the covered distance during the 6MWT (mean ± standard error of the mean: 515±35 m (BR) vs 520±38 m (PL), P=0.46), O 2 consumption of submaximal exercise (trial 1 P=0.31 vs trial 2 P=0.20), physical activity level ( P>0.05), or systolic BP ( P=0.80). However, diastolic BP (DBP) was reduced after BR ingestion compared to baseline (mean difference: 4.6, 95% CI: 0.1–9.1, P<0.05).