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Close to 5 million Americans are currently living with congestive heart failure (CHF) – leaving them with extreme fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath – their hearts no longer able to keep up with the demands to pump blood to their bodies.
To top it off another 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Over half a million more people at an increased risk of dying, leaving their families behind. In fact, heart failure is responsible for over 287,000 deaths each year in our country.
And, unfortunately, despite treatment supposedly improving, the death rate has remained high.
But, there is good news for quality of life…
Recently, researchers at Indiana University have discovered a supplement that shows promise by enhancing exercise capacity in patients with heart failure (a key factor linked to their quality of life and even survival).
The purple juice with mega power
About half of people living with heart failure live with the issue of the ejection fraction of their heart being reduced.
What is it?
The ejection fraction is an important measurement of how well your heart is pumping – in other words, how much blood your heart is able to send out to the rest of your body. The ejection fraction of a healthy heart is generally considered to be 50 percent or higher. This means that more than half of the blood that fills the ventricle of your heart is pumped out with each beat.
When your ejection fraction is too low, your heart isn’t pumping enough blood. You have a hard time breathing, problems with getting enough oxygen and you use more energy while exercising than you would otherwise.
This led the researchers to test the effect of nitrate-rich beetroot juice supplements for these patients.
That’s because beet juice has been shown in previous studies to release nitric oxide, increasing blood flow and oxygen exchange and improving exercise efficiency.
Here’s what they found…
Beetroot supplementation resulted in significant increases in exercise duration, peak power and peak oxygen uptake while exercising.
In other words, taking beetroot juice prior to exercise helped heart failure patients exercise longer and stronger and take in more of that vital oxygen.
And, if that’s not enough…
There were absolutely zero side effects from the supplement – something you definitely can’t say for prescriptions.
Even better, beetroot has been shown in study after study to help lower blood pressure (a major issue for heart failure patients) so the benefits just keep coming.
Beets for a better heart
So, if you’re ready to help your body with exercise duration and oxygen uptake while exercising, you have a few options…
You can make your own beet juice by adding beets to a blender or juicer along with celery, cucumber or apple for flavor. (Just don’t forget to peel away the rough, outer layer first.)
Or, if you’re not a fan of the juice, you can use a beetroot powder supplement instead. Some other supplements, especially if they contain grape seed extract, can also boost nitric oxide.
- Heart Failure Statistics — Emory Healthcare
- Heart Failure Treatment Improves, But Death Rate Remains High — NPR
- Beetroot juice supplements may help certain heart failure patients — Indiana University
- Heart failure — Mayo Clinic
- Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review — Nutrients
- Blood pressure-lowering effects of beetroot juice and novel beetroot-enriched bread products in normotensive male subjects — British Journal of Nutrition
- Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial — Nutrition Journal