Popular Science News | Testing Positive for Beetroot Juice

Popular Science News | in the run up to the 2012 Olympics there will be a great deal of attention given to the possibility that athletes may be taking performance enhancing drugs. However, not all substances are as obvious as you think. We probably have all heard of steroids but what about beetroot juice?

Scientists at the University of Essex have found that the nitrate present in the juice increases nitric oxide levels in the body, allowing muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. As a result, they discovered that divers could hold their breath for 11% longer than normal, which could help swimmers who want to minimize the number of breaths they take in short-distance events.

I’ll be watching the swimming events with great interest, looking for the tell-tale sign of beetroot abuse; a red stain around the mouth!

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