Beetroot Juice Increases Human Muscle Force without Changing Ca2+-Handling Proteins

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This study aimed to examine the effects of 7 d of beetroot juice (BRJ) supplementation on SkM contractile characteristics and function.


Recreationally active males (n = 8) underwent transcutaneous electrical muscle stimulation of the vastus lateralis for the evaluation of contractile characteristics before and after 7 d of BRJ supplementation (280 mL·d−1, ~26 mmol NO3−). An additional group of individuals (n = 8) followed the same supplementation protocol but underwent SkM biopsies pre- and post-supplementation for the determination of proteins associated with calcium handling via Western blotting, and the ratio of reduced/oxidized glutathione (GSH:GSSG), an indicator of cellular redox state, via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


After supplementation, there was no change in maximal voluntary force production (602 ± 50 vs 596 ± 56 N) or electrically induced tetanic contractions. By contrast, force production was increased at 10 Hz electrical stimulation (41.1% ± 2.3% vs 37.6% ± 2.4% of peak force, P < 0.05), as was peak twitch tension (164.0 ± 12.5 vs 136.5 ± 7.2 N, P < 0.01) and maximal rates of force development and relaxation (3582.8 ± 382.3 vs 2575.7 ± 196.2 and −2752.4 ± 423.9 vs −2104.4 ± 249.0 N·s−1, respectively, P < 0.05). Despite these measurements implicating a change in calcium handling, the content of associated proteins (SERCA1a, SERCA2a, dihydropyradine receptor, ryanodine receptor, and calsequestrin) and the GSH:GSSG ratio were unaltered by BRJ.


BRJ supplementation increases force production at low-stimulation frequencies; however, in human SkM, this is independent of changes in redox stress or the expression of protein targets associated with calcium handling.

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