Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Br. J. Sports Med.
Page numbers: 1246-1248
doi (if applicable): 10.1139/bjsports-2011-090669
This article briefly reviews 3 dietary supplements: nitrates, nootkatone, and octacosanol.Nitrates
Nitric oxide (NO) is a compound that is naturally formed in the body that acts to dilate blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow. NO is in dynamic equilibrium with nitrite and nitrate, which are found is some foods, namely green leafy vegetables and beetroot juice. It has been found that nitrate-rich beetroot juice (300-500 mg nitrate ion) can improve performance during endurance exercise (ex. cycling), perhaps due to decreasing the oxygen-cost of exercise. Athletes, however, should not interchangeably use nitrite and nitrate, as the former can cause methemoglobinemia (lack of oxygen transport in the blood).Nootkatone
This compound is found in the heartwood of Alaska yellow cedar and also in citrus fruit, esp. grapefruit peel. It can be produced biosynthetically, and is used most often as a flavoring. One animal study showed that nootkatone increased swimming endurance, but no studies have yet been performed in humans.Octacosanol and policosanol
These compounds are found in a variety of plants including fruits and seeds. The primary scientific studies have been performed on policosanol, a wheat-germ oil extract, of which the main compound is octacosanol. Some, but not all, of these studies have revealed that policosanol may help lower cholesterol. Other studies have suggested that policosanol may help reduce body weight and increase performance, but further studies ought to be performed to confirm these observations.
There is substantial evidence to recommend nitrate supplementation for endurance events in acute doses. Nootkatone and octacosanol have potential to confer health benefits, but further studies are necessary to be confident of their benefits and their biological mechanism.