Endurance athletes are constantly searching for ways to improve their performance, strength, and recovery. One key element in achieving these goals is nitric oxide (N-O). Nitric oxide is a gaseous molecule naturally produced in cells that plays a crucial role in supporting healthy blood flow during high-intensity exercise. 1
Studies have shown that N-O supports endurance performance and recovery by relaxing the inner muscles of blood vessels, thereby supporting healthy blood flow and delivering essential nutrients to working muscles. 2 Certain foods, like red spinach and beetroot, have high levels of natural nitrates that boost nitric oxide levels.
SPIN BOOST contains naturally occurring high nitrate red spinach extract with up to five times greater nitrate concentration than beets. Red spinach, paired with pomegranate, helps support performance and recovery due to pomegranate’s nitric oxide protecting abilities. 3
Research shows that functional foods are an effective way to boost N-O production naturally. Unlike traditional supplements, functional foods are plant-based foods that deliver health benefits beyond their nutritional value. 4 This article will explore the role of nitric oxide in endurance performance and recovery, as well as the benefits of functional foods as a natural way to increase N-O levels.
Nitric Oxide and The Circulatory System
The role of nitric oxide in the body is crucial for maintaining a healthy circulatory system. It helps relax blood vessels, allowing for improved oxygen and nutrient transportation to vital organs and tissues. A deficiency in nitric oxide can lead to symptoms such as low energy and slower recovery times.
One way to support the body's natural production of nitric oxide is through the consumption of nitrate-rich foods, such as red spinach, beet, fruits, legumes, and nuts. These foods contain the amino acid L-arginine, which is necessary to produce nitric oxide in the body. 5 The discovery of nitric oxide's role in the cardiovascular system by Louis J. Ignarro, Robert Furchgott, and Ferid Murad in 1998 earned them the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. 6 Since then, the benefits of nitric oxide continue to be studied and understood.
The Link Between Nitric Oxide and Endurance
Studies have found that nitric oxide plays a significant role in athletic performance, energy, and post-exercise recovery. With age, muscle fibers begin to weaken, leading to a decrease in endurance levels. Nitric oxide can help improve endurance by increasing the body's oxygen uptake, known as V02 Max. This measurement indicates how well the body can consume and distribute oxygen during exercise.
When it comes to improving endurance, it is essential to focus on the body's ability to effectively circulate oxygen to the muscles and tissues. Nitric oxide helps to facilitate this process by allowing muscles to receive oxygen quickly, reducing lactic acid build-up and promoting effective recovery. 7 Adding a nitric oxide boost can be an effective way to support this process and increase stamina.
The Impact of Nitric Oxide on Athletic Performance
Research has shown that increasing nitric oxide levels through high-nitrate functional food blends can lead to improved athletic performance by supporting healthy blood flow to the muscles during exercise, resulting in improved oxygen and nutrient delivery. This can lead to increased endurance, power, and overall performance. 8
Additionally, nitric oxide may help exercise induced muscle damage and inflammation and accelerate recovery after exercise. A 2016 study found that supplementing with the nitrates found in red spinach or beetroot improved muscle recovery after intense exercise and reduced muscle soreness by mitigating inflammation markers. 9
Another 2016 study found that nitrate supplementation from red spinach improved muscle function and reduced muscle damage after intense exercise.10
Additionally, a 2021 report analyzed 73 studies comprising a total of 1061 participants. The results showed that nitrate supplementation led to a statistically significant improvement in power output (by an average of 4.6 watts), time to exhaustion (by an average of 25.3 seconds) and distance traveled (by an average of 163.7 meters).
Nitrate supplementation was also found to decrease oxygen consumption (by an average of 0.04 liters per minute). 11
The Role of Red Spinach in Nitric Oxide Boosting
Red spinach is also a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, and minerals like iron and calcium. The antioxidant properties of red spinach may help support the body’s protection from damage caused by free radicals, making it a multi-beneficial option for athletes looking to boost recovery and performance. 12
The nitrates in red spinach are converted to nitric oxide in the body, boosting overall N-O production during intense exercise. Research has shown that the N-O-boosting qualities of red spinach are beneficial for improving endurance, increasing speed, and supporting heart health. 13
A 2017 study found that older adults who take nitrate supplements, like red spinach, had increased endurance and could exercise for longer before reaching fatigue. Data in this study also showed promising evidence for the beneficial effects of nitrate functional food blends on supporting heart and brain health. 14
Additionally, a 2021 study found that active adults who consumed red spinach extract experienced significant improvements in their cycling performance. Compared to those who consumed a placebo, the subjects who consumed red spinach extract demonstrated increased power output, improved speed, and reduced oxygen consumption during cycling. 15
Age, Nitric Oxide and Sports Performance
A prominent side effect of aging is changes in muscle mass and composition. Beginning at age 30, muscle mass starts to decrease by 3% to 8% per decade, and this rate increases by the age of 60. 16 The body's slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for slow and fast energy expenditure, deteriorate with age, affecting strength and energy output.
A 2008 study found that the body uses oxygen less efficiently with age, affecting endurance levels. Age-related decline in nitric oxide synthesis is also a contributing factor to decreased oxygen efficiency. This decline in N-O synthesis has been linked to increased formation of Monocyte-Platelet Aggregates (MPAs), which is a marker for the inflammatory response in the body and is notably higher in those experiencing cardiovascular challenges. 17
The decline in energy levels is another noticeable symptom of aging. Nitric oxide is a crucial component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and energy levels. Since the production of nitric oxide decreases with age, this can contribute to various age-related health issues, including decreased energy.
One effective way to support nitric oxide decline with age is through a nitrate-rich diet. To protect the body through the aging process, it's important to maintain cardiovascular health and muscle retention. Nitric oxide boosters can support endurance levels and assist in healthy cardio performance and muscle recovery with age.
SPIN BOOST® as a Nitric Oxide Boosting Functional Food Blend
Spin Boost® is a clean-label concentrated powder with no oxalates, artificial flavors or added sugar. The functional food blend is vegan, non-GMO, preservative-free, and gluten-free. The unique blend of ingredients is specifically formulated to support the production of high levels of nitric oxide for sustained endurance.
The main ingredients in Spin Boost® include red spinach extract, pomegranate and orange. Each of these ingredients boasts a unique array of benefits for the body, working synergistically to support sustained N-O production.
In addition to its N-O-boosting properties, red spinach is known to contain ecdysterone, a type of steroid hormone that is commonly found in plants. This plant-derived steroid is known as a phytoecdysteroid, and it is used by plants as a defense mechanism against insects.
Studies have found that ecdysterone can also act as a performance enhancer, muscle builder, and support muscle health in humans. A 10-week study involving 46 participants found that those who consumed spinach extract experienced a 3-fold increase in strength compared to the placebo group. 18
Pomegranate, known for its N-O protective effects, has also been shown to improve performance, muscle recovery and post-workout inflammation. Pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce workout-related inflammation. Studies involving weightlifters have shown that consuming pomegranate juice during training and competitions can lower inflammatory markers such as CRP and interleukin-6 by 32% and 30%. 19
One of the polyphenols found in pomegranate juice, called gallic acid, has been shown to improve muscle recovery after exercise. 20 Another flavonoid called quercetin, found in pomegranate juice, is known to remove toxins and improve exercise performance and aid muscle recovery after intense exercise. 21
Participants in a 2018 study who consumed pomegranate juice 30 minutes before engaging in sports with intermittent running showed increased exercise performance. 22 Pomegranates are also a natural source of testosterone, which is known to increase athletic performance in both men and women. 23 A 2012 study showed a 24% increase in testosterone levels after a two-week course of pomegranate juice supplementation. 24
Orange juice have been found to help nitric oxide last longer in the body once it has been produced by the nitrates in red spinach. 25
The combination of these ingredients in Spin Boost allows for a convenient, concentrated and 100% natural way to boost nitric oxide levels, which can enhance athletic performance, improve muscle recovery and reduce inflammation after exercise.
SPIN BOOST® Results in Lower Fatigue Indexes and Higher Post-Exercise Lactate Levels
In a 2023 study from Samford University, a double-blind test assessed the impact of nitric oxide boosting red spinach extract on healthy female soccer players. The test used Spin Boost® and and a placebo (tomato juice) in an identical manner and volume. The athletes each performed sprint intervals while researchers tracked key exercise benchmarks like heart rate, N-O levels, post-exercise blood lactate levels and more.
The results from this study revealed that Spin Boost®, with its red spinach extract, effectively increased plasma N-O levels. 26 Additionally, results showed that red spinach extract ingestion resulted in lower fatigue indices and higher post-exercise blood lactate levels compared to the placebo. Fatigue index refers to the rate at which power output declines for an athlete. A lower fatigue index suggests that athletes were able to better manage energy levels throughout sprint intervals.
On the topic of blood lactate levels, the ability to tolerate high blood lactate concentration often determines an athlete’s success in high-intensity events. In a 2015 study, high blood lactate levels correspond to better performance in middle-distance runners. 27
Spin Boost® is linked to an increase in key performance benchmarks suggesting that an increase in nitric oxide levels prior to endurance exercise may help the individual manage their energy levels effectively. While more research is needed to understand the influence of red spinach extract in other areas of performance, this study shows promising evidence about the athletic benefits of N-O-boosting functional supplements.
“Current data suggest that acute red spinach extract ingestion may help to prevent fatigue during intermittent high-intensity sprinting, which may translate to better competition and/or game-play. However, testing on sports-specific skills is warranted to understand how current findings translate to the field of gameplay,” the study concludes Over time, it will be important to test Spin Boost® on a variety of athletes to N-Ote the changes in key performance benchmarks, energy tolerance, N-O levels and more.
High-Nitrate Functional Food Blends Boost Sports Performance
In conclusion, the research highlights the significant impact that high-nitrate functional food blends can have on sports performance. The key points discussed in this paper have shown that nitric oxide plays a vital role in improving endurance, reducing inflammation, and enhancing muscle recovery. The article also highlighted the importance of nitric oxide in both young and aging athletes.
One of the key takeaways is the importance of understanding the ingredients that make up a nitric oxide-boosting food blend. Spin Boost®, which is a unique blend of ingredients including red spinach extract, orange and pomegranate, contains simple clean ingredients from whole-food sources.
Spin Boost® has been clinically shown to increase nitric oxide levels while supporting an athlete’s ability to manage fatigue during high-intensity performance. While more research is needed to discover the long-term benefits of Spin Boost®, it’s apparent that a high-quality red spinach extract shows a positive outcome for athletes.
This article has highlighted the benefits of high-nitrate functional food blends for sports performance and has emphasized the need for athletes, young and aging alike, to understand the ingredients that make up these blends. Spin Boost® is a perfect example of a functional food blend that may provide the body with the necessary nitric oxide boost to improve sports performance.
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