Beetroot emerges as nature's performance enhancer


If you see an athlete with purple stains on their lips during this summer's Olympics, they may be taking the latest performance enhancer – beetroot.

A soon-to-be-published study of climbers in the Alps who were given beetroot juice to drink is expected to show that it boosted the efficiency in which their bodies used oxygen. The study is part of a series investigating the effects of altitude on the body which leads to oxygen deprivation similar to that experienced by patients suffering from critical illness.
Researchers from the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (Case) at University College, London, say the insights they have gained from studying elite climbers are helping to improve treatment of patients in intensive care.
Blood samples taken at the top of Everest showed some of the climbers had blood oxygen levels so low they were previously thought to be incompatible with life. Now, in a £1m study over five years, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, experts will examine these "good adaptors" (to altitude) for biomarkers in their blood that could help identify patients able to tolerate low levels of oxygen.

Source  - Independent