Dietary Nitrate Intake Linked to Leg Pain Reduction for Older Adults

A new study published in Circulation Research finds that dietary nitrate may reduce pain for older adults experiencing restricted blood flow and pain in their legs. This condition, known as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) with Intermittent Claudication (IC), results in pain and the necessity to stop walking after short distances.

While current treatments of PAD and IC have focused on supervised exercise rehabilitation, this study examined how nitrate consumption through concentrated beet juice could augment the benefits of this supervised exercise.

Approximately 35 older adults were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind per-protocol study. During the experiment, participants underwent 36 weeks of supervised exercise training 3 times per week. Half of the participants consumed a little more than 2 ounces of beet root juice shortly before their exercise, while the other half consumed an identical placebo drink with no nitrate.

The experiment’s results indicated that participants who consumed both the beet juice and the placebo could walk further in timed six minute treadmill tests than they could at the start of the experiment. For the beet juice drinkers, walking distance increased by an average of about 53 meters. The placebo drinkers’ walking distance increased by an average of approximately 25 meters.

Additionally, findings revealed an improved onset time of pain among both groups. The time it took for beet juice drinkers to feel their leg cramps increased by an average of 180 seconds, while the placebo drinkers’ time increased by an average of 59 seconds. While further clinical trials are needed, these results suggest that beet juice can offer benefits in treating exercise-related pain among older adults.

Along with its link to pain reduction, regular consumption of beet juice has been found to support healthy blood pressure levels. Explore more 100% juices with science-backed benefits by visiting our Juice Varieties page. Discover the nutritional superpowers of your favorite types of juice with our Find Your Juice Match feature.

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