Dietary nitrate (NO3(-)) supplementation via beetroot juice has been shown to increase the exercise capacity of younger and older adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acute NO3(-) ingestion on the submaximal constant work rate exercise capacity of COPD patients. Fifteen patients were assigned in a randomized, single-blind, crossover design to receive one of two treatments (beetroot juice then placebo or placebo then beetroot juice). Submaximal constant work rate exercise time at 75% of the patient's maximal work capacity was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included plasma NO3(-) and nitrite (NO2(-)) levels, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen consumption (VO2), dynamic hyperinflation, dyspnea and leg discomfort. Relative to placebo, beetroot ingestion increased plasma NO3(-) by 938% and NO2(-) by 379%. Median (+interquartile range) exercise time was significantly longer (p = 0.031) following the ingestion of beetroot versus placebo (375.0 + 257.0 vs. 346.2 + 148.0 s, respectively). Compared with placebo, beetroot ingestion significantly reduced iso-time (p = 0.001) and end exercise (p = 0.008) diastolic blood pressures by 6.4 and 5.6 mmHg, respectively. Resting systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced (p = 0.019) by 8.2 mmHg for the beetroot versus the placebo trial. No other variables were significantly different between the beetroot and placebo trials. These results indicate that acute dietary NO3(-) supplementation can elevate plasma NO3(-) and NO2(-) concentrations, improve exercise performance, and reduce blood pressure in COPD patients.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exercise; Nitrate; Nitric oxide; Nitrite.
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