Minimal muscle damage after a marathon and no influence of beetroot juice on inflammation and recovery

Tom Clifford, Dean Allerton, Meghan Brown, Liam Harper, Steven Horsburgh, Karen Keane, Emma Stevenson, Glyn Howatson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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This study examined whether beetroot juice (BTJ) would attenuate inflammation and muscle damage following a marathon. Using a double blind, independent group design, 34 runners (each having completed ca. ∼16 previous marathons) consumed either BTJ or an isocaloric placebo (PLA) for 3 days following a marathon. Maximal isometric voluntary contractions (MIVC), countermovement jumps (CMJ), muscle soreness, serum cytokines, leucocytosis, creatine kinase (CK), high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were measured pre, post, and 2 days after the marathon. CMJ and MIVC were reduced after the marathon (P <0.05), but no group differences were observed (P > 0.05). Muscle soreness was increased in the day after the marathon (BTJ; 45 ± 48 vs. PLA; 46 ± 39 mm) and had returned to baseline by day 2, irrespective of supplementation (P = 0.694). Cytokines (interleukin-6; IL-6, interleukin-8, tumour necrosis factor-α) were increased immediately post-marathon but apart from IL-6 had returned to baseline values by day 1 post. No interaction effects were evident for IL-6 (P = 0.213). Leucocytes increased 1.7-fold after the race and remained elevated 2 days post, irrespective of supplement (P <0.0001). CK peaked at 1 day post marathon (BTJ: 965 ± 967, and PLA: 1141 ± 979 IU·L−1) and like AST and hs-CRP, was still elevated 2 days after the marathon (P <0.05); however, no group differences were present for these variables. Beetroot juice did not attenuate inflammation or reduce muscle damage following a marathon, possibly because most of these indices were not markedly different from baseline values in the days after the marathon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Issue number3
Early online date9 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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