Could intramuscular storage of dietary nitrate contribute to its ergogenic effect? A mini-review

Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 May 20;152:295-300. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.03.025. Epub 2020 Mar 26.


Extensive research performed over the past 10 years has resulted in dietary nitrate being considered a nutritional supplement that can improve exercise performance. However, there is still limited insight in the metabolic fate of dietary nitrate following the appearance of nitrate and nitrite in the circulation. Recent observations in humans suggest the storage of nitrate in skeletal muscle tissue. This short review discusses the possibility of nitrate being stored and utilized in human skeletal muscle tissue, and why confirming this may increase our understanding of how the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway improves exercise performance. Further insight in skeletal muscle nitrate storage and metabolism may provide answers to current gaps in knowledge, such as the ergogenic benefit of acute vs multiday dietary nitrate supplementation, as well as the suggested muscle fiber-type specific effects on exercise performance. In this mini-review, specific questions that need further exploration are also discussed.

Keywords: Beetroot juice; Ergogenic aid; Nitric oxide; Nitrite.

Publication types

  • Review