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Beet, or beetroot, supplements are gaining quite a following for a number of apparent health benefits, including increased energy, improved physical performance, and reductions in blood pressure. Because they’re made from beets, the colorful root vegetables rich in nutrients and powerful health-promoting plant compounds, beet supplements may be a desirable addition, but not a substitute, to an overall healthy diet.
Why Eat Beets or Take Beet Supplements?
Nutrient-rich beets are a great way to add a variety of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and plant compounds to your diet. Beets are rich in folate, which plays a role in growth, development, and heart health, and manganese, important for functions including bone formation and brain function. They also contain copper, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and iron. This bright red or yellow root vegetable gets a boost from its deep color, which indicates one of the unique plant compounds, called betalains. Because betalains have properties that may protect against inflammation, cognitive impairment, cancer, hepatitis, and diabetes, they have been used in pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. Beets also contain nitrate, which can be converted to nitric oxide which can induce the expansion of blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Nitric oxide can also increase blood flow to muscles to potentially improve athletic performance.
People use beet supplements mostly for athletic performance, relieving muscle soreness after exercise, energy boost, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Research has shown that beet supplements may improve aerobic exercise performance in some people and it may help relieve muscle soreness after certain exercises, like sprinting. Evidence is still emerging for its effectiveness in high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, liver disease, and others.
As with all dietary supplements, beet supplements are regulated as food and therefore do not require approval for safety and effectiveness from the Food and Drug Administration before they are marketed. Choose trusted brands or those with third-party certification to ensure the product’s integrity.
Beet or beetroot supplements are available in several forms:
- Juice and juice powder
- Capsules and tablets
Due to labeling requirements, product labels will list ingredients and will have a nutrition label or a supplement facts label. Read the ingredients label because beet supplements vary greatly by brand. Gummies, for example, likely contain several ingredients in addition to beet root, such as added sugars. If you want pure beetroot, some beetroot powders and juices may deliver on this preference, whereas others may contain sweeteners and flavors. There is no recommended dosage and it varies among products and brands.
Beet supplements are likely safe regardless of form when taken in food or when consumed as instructed on labels. They can make urine or stools appear red or pink, which is not harmful, but may cause alarm for its resemblance to blood. Beets contain oxalates, which have been shown to contribute to kidney stones, so people with kidney stones will want to consult with their doctor before taking a beet supplement.
Eating beets in their whole foods form is nutritionally a better choice than taking a beet supplement. Choosing whole, nutritionally dense foods in general, especially fruits and vegetable which are rich in fiber and water, provide more benefits than a supplement, whether juice, powder, extract, gummy, or capsule. A supplement can’t mimic the symbiotic/synergistic relationship of a whole food’s nutrients to provide health benefits. That said, not everyone may like to eat beets but want to supplement its nutrients into their diet. In this case, be sure to check supplement labels for unwanted added ingredients and check with your healthcare provider to be certain a beet supplement is right for you.