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Title: The phytochemical content and bioavailability of beetroot (Beta Vulgaris L.) and its application as a recovery intervention following strenuous exercise
Author: Clifford, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 7519
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2016
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Athletes and practitioners are continually looking for new strategies that could minimise the negative effects of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and hasten the recovery process. One strategy that has shown promise in recent years is the use of functional foods rich in phytonutrients. A functional food that has attracted a lot of attention recently, although primarily for its performance enhancing effects, is beetroot (Beta Vulgaris L.). In addition to displaying a range of physiological effects that may benefit athletic performance, beetroot also exhibits antioxidant (AOX) and anti-inflammatory effects, both of which could be of benefit for reducing secondary damage and enhancing exercise recovery. Nonetheless, the effect of beetroot on exercise recovery is yet to be systematically investigated in the literature. Thus, the overarching aim of this thesis was to test the efficacy of beetroot supplementation, in the form of beetroot juice (BTJ), as a recovery intervention following strenuous exercise. The series of investigations that set out to address this aim have led to many novel and interesting findings. To start with, study 1 was the first to show that a commercially available BTJ is a rich source of phytonutrients and therefore possesses a high AOX capacity in comparison to several other fruit and vegetable juices. Secondly, and perhaps the most novel finding in this thesis, was that BTJ showed promise as an efficacious recovery intervention following some bouts of muscle-damaging exercise. Although not a consistent finding throughout this thesis, BTJ was able to improve the recovery of dynamic muscle function and reduce muscle pain after eccentric-heavy exercise. Another important finding was that BTJ, despite being rich in AOXs, did not adversely affect the acute adaptive response to exercise, as measured by the repeated bout effect (RBE). In contrast to the findings in the earlier studies, however, BTJ was not found to be beneficial for recovery after long distance running. Importantly, the final study in this thesis provided the first evidence that BTJ is more beneficial than sodium nitrate (SN) for enhancing some aspects of recovery. This study highlighted the importance of the phytonutrients in BTJ other than nitrate on recovery after exercise. In summary, the collective findings of this thesis provide new information on the potential application of a phytonutrient rich functional food, in BTJ, for recovery from strenuous athletic performance.
Supervisor: Stevenson, Emma ; Howatson, Glyn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C600 Sports Science