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The Effect of Nitrate Supplementation on Exercise Tolerance and Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Van De Walle, Gavin, P.; Vukovich, Matthew, D.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 6 - p 1796–1808
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002046
Original Research

Van De Walle, GP and Vukovich, MD. The effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance and performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1796–1808, 2018—The purpose of this article was to systematically review the current literature and evaluate the overall efficacy of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance and performance by meta-analysis. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they met the following criteria: (a) were an experimental trial published in an English peer-reviewed journal; (b) compared the effects of inorganic nitrate consumption with a non-bioactive supplement control or placebo; (c) used a quantifiable measure of exercise performance; and (d) was carried out in apparently healthy participants without disease. A total of 29 studies were identified that investigated the effects of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance or performance in accordance with the criteria outlined. Analysis using time to exhaustion as the outcome variable revealed a significant effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance (ES = 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08–0.47; p = 0.006) compared with placebo. Analysis using time to complete a specific distance as the outcome variable revealed no significant effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance (ES = −0.05; 95% CI: −0.28 to 0.17; p = 0.64) compared with placebo. Nitrate supplementation is likely to improve exercise tolerance and capacity that may improve exercise performance. More research is required to determine the optimal dose and duration of nitrate supplementation. It would also be important to consider the type of athlete performing the exercise and the duration, intensity, and mode of the exercise performed because these factors are likely to influence the efficacy of nitrate supplementation.

Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota

Address correspondence to Gavin P. Van De Walle,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.