Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Beet juice: just another vegetable or tonic to improve health and sport performance?


I bought a bottle of beet juice and tried to drink it. It was nasty beyond belief. (It tasted like dirt!)  I subjected myself to the stuff because of the supposed health benefits.  I ended up throwing away the bottle of beet juice, purchased for more than I care to divulge, at my local Whole Foods.  (BTW for those, like myself, who may be a little slow to the beet juice world, beet root juice and beet juice are the same thing. You learn something new every day!)


But, I may go get another bottle and try to force my self to drink it, because it definitely has health benefits.  (Click the links to see the studies.)  These health benefits include:

  • Potential cancer fighter.  Tests were done in rats (and a reminder, we are NOT rats), but the studies showed that rats that got beet juice (how did they get them to drink it?) could more effectively fight various cancers.  This is a long way off from a good human trial, but heck, I ‘ll drink some dirt beet juice to stave off cancer.
  • Improved blood pressure. There are limited trials showing that beet juice may improve blood pressure in patients not yet on blood pressure medications.
  • Athletic performance: reportedly, at the 2012 summer Olympics, beet root juice was sold out through out London.  But does it work? Sort of.  Beet juice supplementation appears to improve exercise tolerance for those that are “less fit” and those doing higher intensity exercise.  You probably get the most benefit from taking it long term (at least six days worth) rather than taking a slug of it two to three hours before high intensity exercise.  The recommendation is 16 ounces two hours before the athletic event, and for best results 16 ounces daily for at least 6 days prior to the event.  You can buy “shots” of concentrate (70 cc or two ounces) which may be easier to choke down.  (Yikes! The price is 45 bucks for 12 two ounces bottles!  That’s  more than my morning cappuccino!  I include the link if you want to check the stuff out.  I am not on the company’s payroll.)  Give it a slurp and let me know what you think!

Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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