Effect of dietary nitrate on blood pressure, endothelial function, and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes

Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Jul;60:89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.01.024. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


Diets rich in green, leafy vegetables have been shown to lower blood pressure (BP) and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Green, leafy vegetables and beetroot are particularly rich in inorganic nitrate. Dietary nitrate supplementation, via sequential reduction to nitrite and NO, has previously been shown to lower BP and improve endothelial function in healthy humans. We sought to determine if supplementing dietary nitrate with beetroot juice, a rich source of nitrate, will lower BP and improve endothelial function and insulin sensitivity in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Twenty-seven patients, age 67.2±4.9 years (18 male), were recruited for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Participants were randomized to begin, in either order, a 2-week period of supplementation with 250ml beetroot juice daily (active) or 250ml nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (placebo). At the conclusion of each intervention period 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, tests of macro- and microvascular endothelial function, and a hyperinsulinemic isoglycemic clamp were performed. After 2 weeks administration of beetroot juice mean ambulatory systolic BP was unchanged: 134.6±8.4mmHg versus 135.1±7.8mmHg (mean±SD), placebo vs active-mean difference of -0.5mmHg (placebo-active), p=0.737 (95% CI -3.9 to 2.8). There were no changes in macrovascular or microvascular endothelial function or insulin sensitivity. Supplementation of the diet with 7.5mmol of nitrate per day for 2 weeks caused an increase in plasma nitrite and nitrate concentration, but did not lower BP, improve endothelial function, or improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with T2DM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Beta vulgaris / chemistry
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Endothelium / drug effects
  • Endothelium / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / administration & dosage
  • Nitrates / chemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / blood*
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide