We all probably know about the benefits of nitrates on exercise performance, but did you know nitrates may also have cognitive enhancing (nootropic) effects in healthy subjects?
The noot: 450ml organic beetroot juice (including 10% apple juice) containing 5.5mmol nitrate (at ~62g/mol, that’s 341mg nitrates)
Note: if you’re using potassium nitrate, 341mg nitrates would be yielded from ~559mg potassium nitrate (which is ~61% nitrate), but it seems possible that the beetroot juice may have some other pro-cognitive benefits besides just nitrates, although the study makes no mention of this, and discusses the nitrate content of the treatment vs the placebo as the primary player/factor here
Subjects: healthy young adults (average age ~21 years)
Dietary nitrate increased levels of nitrite, and modulated the hemodynamic response
40 to task performance, with an initial increase in CBF at the start of the task period, followed by
41 consistent reductions during the least demanding of the three tasks utilised. Cognitive
42 performance was improved on the Serial 3s subtraction task.
These results show that single doses of dietary nitrate can modulate the CBF
44 response to task performance and improve cognitive performance, and suggest one possible
45 mechanism by which vegetable consumption may have beneficial effects on brain function.
This dose (5.5mmol or 341mg nitrates) is consistent with the dose that has ergogenic/endurance benefits (5-9mmol or 310-558mg nitrates) although they advise against the use of nitrate salts.
This meta-analysis shows that nitrate supplementation increases tolerance and efficiency
to high-intensity constant and maximal incremental exercise, which may increase exercise
performance. Doses ranging from 5 to 9 mmol of nitrate seem to be the most effective and can be
taken as either a single bolus or as multiple doses (up to 15 days). This amount (5-9 mmol) can
easily be met through a normal diet consisting of vegetables, with beetroot, spinach and rocket
(rogula) representing the richest sources of dietary nitrate. Natural sources of vegetable nitrates
are likely safe and should remain the primary vessel for those looking to explore the
physiological effects of nitrate associated with exercise. In contrast, the uncontrolled use of
organic nitrates (nitroglycerin) and nitrite salts is potentially hazardous and should be avoided. It
would also be important to consider the type of athlete performing the exercise, the duration,
intensity and mode of the exercise performed as these factors are likely to influence the efficacy
of nitrate supplementation.