Influence of dietary nitrate supplementation on physiological and cognitive responses to incremental cycle exercise


Dietary inorganic nitrate supplementation causes physiological effects which may enhance exercise tolerance. However it is not known whether nitrate might alter cognitive function during exercise. In a double-blind, cross-over study, sixteen subjects ingested either nitrate-rich beetroot juice or a placebo and completed a continuous cycle exercise test involving 20. min stages at 50% and 70% V̇O2peak and a final stage at 90% V̇O2peak until volitional exhaustion. Cognitive tasks were completed before, during and after exercise. In the dietary nitrate condition: plasma [nitrite] increased (p<. 0.01), systolic blood pressure decreased (p< 0.05) and there was a trend for a reduced oxygen uptake at 50% V̇O2peak. Tissue oxygenation improved across exercise intensities and exercise tolerance was greater at 90% V̇O2peak (p< 0.05). Rating of perceived exertion, energy levels and cognitive performance were similar between conditions with mental fatigue being evident from 70% V̇O2peak onwards (p< 0.05). Dietary nitrate supplementation enhanced short-term endurance exercise performance with concomitant mental fatigue but did not improve cognitive performance post-fatigue. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology