Research in the past century on the potential biological role of dietary nitrates, particularly as a sports nutrition supplement, has gained much attention—courtesy, plethora of evidence suggesting that when taken in the right dosages, inorganic nitrates can impart a significant influence on exercise efficiency, power output and duration of exercise—in turn, overall performance enhancement (Larsen et al., 2007).
However, world of athletics, until 2009, was entirely unaware of performance benefits of dietary nitrates, wherein positive influences of beet juice (or “beetroot juice”) were realized (Bailey et al., 2009).
Inorganic nitrate (NO3-) is found in green leafy vegetables, including beetroot, in abundance, as well as in numerous foodstuffs. In humans, following ingestion, nitrate gets converted to nitrite (NO2-), is stored and circulated in the blood. In conditions of low oxygen availability, NO2- can be converted into nitric oxide (NO)—an important physiological signalling molecule, known to play a number of important roles in vascular and metabolic control.
Botanically, Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is classified as a herbaceous biennial from Chenopodiaceae family. Several forms of Beetroot have been identified with bulb colors varying from yellow to red. However, deep red-colored beetroots are the most popular for human consumption.
Sabeet® is a standardized extract from the root of Beet, and is a rich source of inorganic nitrate.
Beetroot is also known as Table beet, Garden beet and Red beet, and its roots are eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. It is also a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. Beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and thus, helps prevent cardiovascular problems. In addition, it is also used as a food colorant. In an industrial set-up, particularly betanin is used as red food colorants (e.g. to improve the color of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals).
Over the past three decades, mainly in the 1970s, theoretically inorganic nitrates were thought to be carcinogenic, as it was hypothesized that nitrate is metabolised in the human body to N-nitroso compounds, many of which are undoubtedly carcinogenic. Recent researches, however, suggest that supplementation of nitrate could actually be beneficial for health by being defensive against infection, protects the GI tract, improves exercise performance and prevent cardiovascular diseases (Gilchrist et al., 2010).