Disclaimer: I was sent a package of Red Ace Organic Beet Juice in exchange for a fair review. All opinions expressed are my own, especially since I was very curious about beet juice even before Red Ace contacted me.
Beets are one of my favorite vegetables if you can’t deduce that from the recipes I share on this blog. These vibrantly colored root vegetables are a regular staple in my diet, but up until recently, I had not tried beet juice as a sports nutrition supplement.
Beet juice is one of those trendy foods in the world of sports nutrition. Some of the trends aren’t back by legitimate scientific research, while other foods actually became trendy due to findings in the scientific community. Much like turmeric and tart cherry juice, there’s actually a convincing amount of scientific research on how beet juice affects athletic performance and overall health.
Can Beet Juice Improve Running?
Beets contain inorganic nitrates, which your body converts into nitric acid. This nitric acid affects numerous biological processes, including blood pressure and oxygen consumption. The beet juice trend began in 2009, when the University of Exeter released a study concluding that beet juice improved stamina and endurance by reducing oxygen uptake. The study also concluded that beet juice lowered blood pressure. Since then, beetroot juice has gained popularity amongst runners, triathletes, and other endurance athletes as a natural ergogenic aid.
Subsequent studies, such as a 2014 study conducted at the University of Cagliari, provide further scientific evidence to the claim that beet juice lowers the oxygen demands of exercise. For runners, this means that beet juice may help you run faster at the same effort level.
According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry, your current level of fitness impacts the effect that beet juice has on your performance, at least when running at submaximal intensity. In the study, participants with a lower level of fitness used less oxygen in their time trials after consuming an inorganic nitrate supplement than they did with the placebo. The highly trained athletes in the study did not experience as much difference between the supplement and the placebo.
A 2017 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that beetroot juice actually is most beneficial in short, primarily anaerobic time trials rather than longer, primarily aerobic distances. The study found that beet juice supplementation enhanced performance at 1500m time trials but not 10K time trials. The study concluded that beet juice serves best as an ergogenic aid for high-intensity efforts.
As a certified running coach, my approach to sport nutrition supplements is this: if they are legal and there are no harmful side effects, they experiment with them as you wish. You may see the benefits of beet juice on your endurance and overall health – especially if you don’t enjoy eating beets. However, not drinking beet juice will not be detrimental to your running and race performances, nor can you rely on beet juice on race day as a replacement for poor training. Sport nutrition supplements are exactly what the name suggest – they supplement your training and nutrition, not replace it.
As with any supplement, if you are going to consume beet juice for health or performance benefits, you want to ensure you are consuming the real thing. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, there’s a risk of artificial ingredients being added to supplements or low-quality ingredients being used.
If you are going to use sports nutrition supplements, you want to choose a company that uses natural and organic ingredients – such as Red Ace. None of their juices contain added sugar or added preservatives. Since they use organic ingredients, you know you are receiving a high-quality supplement.
However, products that are organic must be verified by the USDA. Red Ace offers beet juice shots for performance, recovery, and health that are USDA Organic certified and Non-GMO verified so that you know you are consuming high-quality ingredients. Red Ace makes beet juice shots from organic beets. Since 2011, they have worked with the same organic beet farm in California to ensure sustainability and a high-quality product.
Red Ace organic beet juice shots simplify the supplementation of beet juice for performance, recovery, and overall health. Who has time to juice three beets before a hard workout? Each juice shot is 2 fluid ounces, which means you can easily down one before or after a run. Since there’s not much volume, you don’t have to worry about the feeling of a sloshy stomach while running.
Honestly, I liked how all three of these beet juice shots tasted. I actually sipped them slowly because I enjoyed the flavor. The Organic Beet Performance Supplement, which contains the juice of three beets filtered water, and lemon juice, tastes sweet and slightly earthy. The perfomance shot is intended for pre-workout consumption. The Organic Beets and Turmeric shot is my favorite, as it had a slightly spicy, gingery flavor to it thanks to a bit of ginger juice as well. Thanks to the turmeric, this beet juice shot is meant to aid in post-run recovery. The Organic Beets and Greens shot tasted mildly fruity, thanks to a hint of organic raspberry juice, and is intended for overall health, including lower blood pressure.
The juice shots are a bit pricey ($60 for 12, although as of now all their products are 25% off retail price on their website, bringing the price down to $45 for 12 shots). However, high-quality and sustainable organic foods have a price, and when you consider that there are 3 organic beets in each shot, the price makes sense. I pay $3 per pound of organic beets at the grocery store, and that’s not to account for the other ingredients, packaging, and labor associated with the product.
If you want to try beet juice supplements in your training, I highly recommend Red Ace. Their customer service is impressive and I received my product quickly after ordering. If you are interested in trying, their products, I have a discount code for you! Use the code thisrunnersrecipes on Red Ace’s website for 15% off your order.
A caveat: Do not use mouthwash or toothpaste before consuming beet juice, as this may hinder the conversation of nitrates into nitric acid and decrease the effects. Also know that consumption of beets and beet juice may lead to beeturia, which is when your urine turns pink. This is harmless but disconcerting if you don’t anticipate it.
Since I received these samples a week before the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon, I did not test any of the performance supplements before a workout (I am hesitant to try new things right before a goal race). I did try all of the products for taste and I used the Beet and Turmeric shot as a recovery supplement after the race. My recovery was quick after this half marathon, which while a variety of factors affect recovery, consuming the Beet and Turmeric juice likely did help. I am curious to try the Beet Performance Supplement before a hard workout once I resume normal training.
Update: I consumed a serving of the Performance shot before a 10K race – and beat my goal time by one minute. I trained hard for this PR, but having the beet juice prior seemed to help!
Have you tried beet juice before? Did it aid your running?
What sports nutrition supplements do you use?