Beetroot juice improves endurance, blood pressure in elderly

A daily dose of beetroot juice may significantly improve exercise endurance and blood pressure in elderly patients with the heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HfpEF) syndrome, a new study says.

While the daily dose of beetroot juice improved aerobic endurance by 24 percent, it significantly reduced blood pressure by 5-10 mmHg, the study said.

“These initial findings suggest that one week of daily beetroot juice could be a potential therapeutic option to improve aerobic endurance in patients with HfpEF, which has implications for improving everyday activities and quality of life,” said Dalane Kitzman, professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, US.

HfpEF, a dominant form of heart failure, occurring primarily in older women reflects how the left ventricle of the heart pumps with each beat, the researchers said.

Primary symptoms of HFPEF includes shortness of breath and fatigue with normal amounts of exertion, partly due to non-cardiac factors that reduce oxygen delivery to active skeletal muscles.

The findings are detailed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Heart Failure.

The researchers enrolled 19 people in a double-blinded, randomised safety study to determine which was better at improving exercise intolerance, a single dose or a daily dose of the juice given over multiple days.

First, aerobic endurance and blood pressure were measured after the participants received either a single dose of beetroot juice or a placebo.

They were then administered a daily dose of beetroot juice to all 19 patients for an average of seven days, and measured endurance and blood pressure again.

The juice dose in the study was equivalent to 2.4 ounces containing approximately 6 millimoles of inorganic nitrate.