Dietary Nitrate and Muscle Power with Aging

Study Overview

The purpose of this study is to see if drinking beetroot juice (BRJ) is beneficial for aging subjects.

Study Description

The purpose of this study is to determine if dietary nitrate from a commercial beet juice supplement improves muscle speed and power in older individuals. Nitrate is a natural component found in foods, especially green leafy vegetables and beets.   
The first step will be to complete a brief phone screening of your health and medical history. If it appears from the phone screening that you might be qualified, there will be a screening visit to make sure you are eligible for this study. This screening visit would take about 4 hours and consist of vital signs, blood tests (requires a 12 hour fast), completing questionnaires regarding your physical activity and fatigue, a physical exam by a doctor, an EKG, an urine test, and an exercise test where you exercise one of your thigh muscles off and on for about 20 minutes.  You will also complete tests that measure your walking speed, hand strength, balance, ability to stand up, and bone density and body composition.  Exclusion criteria include certain medications and medical conditions and amount of physical activity/exercise that you do. 
If you are determined to be eligible, your participation in the study would involve 6 separate outpatient visits at the Indiana Clinical Research Center at IU-Health University Hospital at 550 University Boulevard in Indianapolis, each 1 week apart.  For each visit you will fast for 12 hours.  On the first day you will drink beet juice and have your muscle function tested. Samples of your blood and urine will also be obtained during this visit. You will complete the walking tests and stand up tests again.  This visit will take approximately 4-5 hours.  After this experiment is over, you would be given a 1 week supply of the beet juice to take with you and drink daily, and you will return 1 week later to provide blood (12 hour fast required) samples.  This visit will take approximately 1 hour.  At this point, you will be given another 1 week supply of beet juice, then return to repeat the same experiment as before where you perform the exercise test and provide blood (12 hour fast required) samples (about 4 hours). 
After a 2 week “washout” period without drinking beet juice, the above described sequence of tests will then be repeated. During the study you will also wear an activity monitor which tracks how much physical activity you are doing.  In total, your participation in the study will last about 2 months and include 7 weekly visits. 
The main risks involved with the study include bruising and discomfort from the blood draw, skin irritation and rash from the electrodes of the EKG, the beet juice may cause your urine and stool to turn a pinkish color, fatigue and soreness from the exercise test, and very rarely, an exercise test may be associated with serious complications including, but not limited to: fainting and disorders of the heart beat (too fast or too slow) which may require hospitalization; heart attack, stroke, or death.  

Additional Information

Participants will be compensated up to $1000 for their participation.

  • IRB Number: 1712579448
  • Research Study Identifier: TX8638
  • Principal Investigator: Andrew Coggan

Recruitment Status


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