Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) results in exercise intolerance. Dietary nitrate supplementation has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP), reduce the oxygen cost of exercise, and enhance exercise tolerance in healthy volunteers. This study assessed the effects of dietary nitrate on the oxygen cost of cycling, walking performance and BP in individuals with mild-moderate COPD.
Methods: Thirteen patients with mild-moderate COPD were recruited. Participants consumed 70 ml of either nitrate-rich (6.77 mmol nitrate; beetroot juice) or nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (0.002 mmol nitrate; placebo) twice a day for 2.5 days, with the final supplement ~3 hours before testing. BP was measured before completing two bouts of moderate-intensity cycling, where pulmonary gas exchange was measured throughout. The six-minute walk test (6 MWT) was completed 30 minutes subsequent to the second cycling bout.
Results: Plasma nitrate concentration was significantly elevated following beetroot juice vs. placebo (placebo; 48 ± 86 vs. beetroot juice; 215 ± 84 µM, P = 0.002). No significant differences were observed between placebo vs. beetroot juice for oxygen cost of exercise (933 ± 323 vs. 939 ± 302 ml: min(-1); P = 0.88), distance covered in the 6 MWT (456 ± 86 vs. 449 ± 79 m; P = 0.37), systolic BP (123 ± 14 vs. 123 ± 14 mmHg; P = 0.91), or diastolic BP (77 ± 9 vs. 79 ± 9 mmHg; P = 0.27).
Conclusion: Despite a large rise in plasma nitrate concentration, two days of nitrate supplementation did not reduce the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling, increase distance covered in the 6 MWT, or lower BP.
Keywords: Blood pressure; COPD; Diet; Exercise; Nitrate; Nitric oxide.
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