Beetroot Powders: Top rated supplements and benefits

The Benefits of BeetrootBeetroot has been eaten for medicinal purposes since Ancient Roman times but like many root vegetables, it lost its appeal somewhere between then and now.

Recently, beetroot has regained attention for its rich nutritional profile. It turns out that the humble beet is packed full of antioxidants, anti-hypertensives, and circulation boosters – check it out:

The benefits of Beetroot begin with the blood

In Chinese medicine, beetroot is eaten as a blood-boosting, cardiovascular-supporting food.

This makes perfect sense since beets are rich in iron, an essential mineral for blood production, but we’re recently discovering more links between beets and blood.

In the late 2000s, researchers discovered and confirmed a pathway that connects beets to blood pressure:

Beetroots are rich in nitrates, a NO−3 ion that is naturally found in many root vegetables. Recent research shows that nitrates can be converted to nitrites in the mouth which are then (usually) converted to precursors of nitric oxide in the stomach [1] [2].

This is called the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide (NO) pathway. If you’re a fitness fanatic or someone with high blood pressure, you may be familiar with NO – it relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and increases circulation.

  • A 2012 study concluded that drinking beetroot juice as part of a normal diet could significantly reduce high blood pressure and maintain normal levels [3].

Nitric oxide is dangerous in high amounts but you’d need to take a lot of whole beet powder to reach dangerous levels. Nitrates also have a nasty reputation – they are found in processed meats like ham and salami and have been linked to cancer. The problem occurs when nitrates are converted into nitrosamines – these appear to be carcinogenic. The formation of nitrosamines may occur when nitrates can’t follow the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway.

NOTE: Iron facilitates the nitrate-nitrite-NO conversion – interesting how beets are a rich source of both iron and nitrates, huh? Plus, fermented beets can help to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut which appears to help the conversion as well. Beetroots also contain potent antioxidants that support blood vessel health, prevent oxidation of LDL and plaque build-up inside arteries, improve oxygen carrying in haemoglobin, and reduce vascular inflammation [4].

Beetroot Powder as a Pre-Workout

Nitric oxide is a powerful metabolite and most pre-workouts are designed to boost its synthesis in the body. By upping nitric oxide, vasodilation occurs which allows greater blood flow throughout the body. This can boost exercise performance, reduce the amount of oxygen used during workouts, and improve muscle recovery.

  • An animal study suggests that beet juice can improve blood flow to contracting muscles, improving oxygen delivery, and reducing ATP output required for movement [5].
  • A study conducted in 2012 demonstrated that whole beetroot consumption could improve athletic performance. Study participants who ate a roasted beetroot 75 minutes before the test performed better on a 5km run than participants who ate a placebo cranberry relish. The beetroot group showed improved speed, perceived exertion, and endurance compared to the placebo group and to their own pre-intervention tests [6]. Given how many nutrients are lost when beets are baked, it’s possible the impact would have been even greater if the participants had taken beetroot powder!

The major benefit of using beet powder as a pre-workout is that it is also rich in antioxidants which can support exercise recovery, reduce inflammation, and protect cardiovascular structures. Though as of now, beetroot based products cannot compete with the overall performance provided by the current best pre workout supplements.

Beets – Antioxidant Powerhouses

Beetroot is rich in antioxidants that can help the body to defend itself against free radical attack and diseases that are associated with oxidative stress. Beets hold a particularly unique collection of antioxidants – the wider the variety of antioxidants in your diet, the better.

Five superstar antioxidants in beetroots are:

  1. Lutein & zeaxanthin: These two carotenoid antioxidants have a high affinity for the eyes, helping to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration [7].
  2. Betalains: Rather than getting its red colour from anthocyanins, beets get theirs from betalains. These pigments have been shown to prompt cancer cell death, reduce inflammation, and can boost exercise performance in triathletes [8] [9].
  3. Vitamin C: The most abundant antioxidant in the human body, vitamin C is a key nutrient that is needed to reduce inflammation, enhance immune function, and support adrenal health.
  4. Beta-carotene: Another carotenoid, this one is the greatest precursor to vitamin A as well as a rich antioxidant in its own right. B-carotene may help to protect against cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety [10].
  5. Manganese: Manganese is the most active antioxidant transition metal – it is doing the most free radical scavenging when compared to zinc, iron, copper and nickel. [11] It’s also used in the conversion of fat into energy, for thyroid hormone production, and in metabolism regulation.

Should Beets Supplements be Fermented or Raw?

Beet supplements are available in four major forms – whole raw beetroot, beetroot juice, fermented beet juice or fermented whole beet, all of which are powdered and sometimes encapsulated. Which one is right for you depends on what therapeutic actions you’re looking for. To keep it simple: fermenting is best for general health but raw beet may have more nitric oxide potential.

Fermenting of beets (or any food) reduces its sugar content – the bacteria used in fermentation eat the sugar for fuel. The bacteria leave most other nutrients intact but may deplete nitrate levels [12]. But that doesn’t mean it will have no effect on nitric oxide levels – it’s just a little complicated…

  • A rodent study showed that lacto-fermented beet juice could improve the composition and function of beneficial gut bacteria and antioxidant action throughout the body [13].

A healthy gut biome is essential for health of the immune system, skin and more.  And recent research suggests that it’s possible that microbiota in the gut may play a key role in the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide conversion that begins in the mouth [14], so maybe fermented beets can support NO production after all.

How To Choose a Beetroot Powder

  • Fermented powdered beetroot: Less sugar, better gut bug support, and possible long-term nitric oxide support.
  • Whole powdered beetroot: More sugar, more nitrates, and probably better as a pre-workout.
  • Powdered beetroot juice: Juice extraction brings the nitrates and many antioxidants but leaves fibre and some nutrients. This is probably your best bet for nitric oxide effects, but it has way more sugar than the whole beetroot – 1tsp of whole beet powder contains about 3 grams of sugar, while 1 cup of reconstituted juice contains 22grams.
  • Concentrated beetroot powder extract: The strongest and most potent way to get the active constituents of beetroot but may have lost some nutrients and nitrates during processing.

Five Best Beetroot Supplements

#5 SuperBeets Circulation Superfood (5g, 10 pack)

Super Beets SupplementIf you want to sample beetroot powder before committing to buying a large amount, then this is a great choice. SuperBeets have combined two forms of beetroot powder – fermented and non-fermented (both non-GMO) so you’ll get the best of both forms. Beets taste very, very earthy so Superbeets have added a natural black cherry flavour and sweetened with stevia to improve the flavour profile.

Each dose is packaged in a single sachet which makes it super easy to take with you to the gym.

#4 Pure Clean Performance Beet’ums Beet-Infused Sports Performance Chews (9g, 30 chews)

Beet'ums SupplementRemember how the conversion of nitrates to nitrites begins in the mouth? Well here’s a way to promote the optimal conversion rate – tasty, beet juice-infused vegan and gluten-free chews that have a low carbohydrate profile and are easily taken before, during, or after training. These chews also contain other botanical ingredients known to improve sports performance and circulation, like green tea extract, cinnamon extract, and cacao powder.

These are a great choice if you’re looking for an easy, tasty way to incorporate the benefits of beet juice into your diet.

#3 Blubay Trading – Organic Beet Root Juice Powder

Organic Beetroot PowderThis is a pure, simple and effective beetroot juice powder derived from USA-grown beets. The texture is smooth enough to put in shakes and smoothies without noticing any graininess, and the taste isn’t awful when mixed with water and lemon.

Best of all, this product is super clean – the only ingredient is beetroot juice powder and it’s USDA certified organic. Simple!

#2 Dr Mercola Fermented Beets with Red Spinach (500mg, 60 capsules)

Fermented Beets PowderDr Mercola offers 100% organic supplements and has combined 500mg of fermented beetroot with 400mg of red spinach – also known as amaranth leaves, another rich sources of natural nitrates. Together, each capsule delivers at least 30mg of nitrates which is a good therapeutic dose. The fermented beet provides a much lower sugar content than other beetroot supplements, and the encapsulated form makes this easy to take regularly.

Because of the potent concentrate of nitrates, taking 1 capsule 3 – 4 times per week is enough to boost circulation and may help to reduce blood pressure.

#1 BeetVO2Max Organic Beetroot Juice Powder Hyper Endurance Formula

Beet Root Powder SupplementView BeetVO2Max On Amazon Here

If you’re looking for a natural pre-workout that can boost nitric oxide levels, this is it – with beetroot juice powder, L-arginine and a 3:2:1 blend of L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoluceine, this is an energy-packed formula that can help performance and recovery. It even packs a little vitamin B12 to support blood cell formation and energy production. The beetroot juice extract is a 25:1 concentration, meaning that 1tbsp of the powdered juice is equivalent to 25tbsp of regular beet powder!

Take 2 scoops 30 – 60 minutes before exercise or activity for a pre-workout boost, or take 1 scoop daily for general cardiovascular health support.

Further Reading:

About James Lyons

James Lyons (BHSc Nutritional Medicine) is a clinical nutritionist, medical writer, and educator. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and is passionate about improving public access to reliable and accurate health information.

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