Athletic performance boosted by shellfish, beets

A lot of performance enhancing products available – both legally and illegally – carry some major side effects.  However, researchers from Ithaca University have discovered a natural substance that they say can boost athletic performance by as much as six percent.  The discovery?  It’s betaine, a nutrient found naturally in shellfish and beets.  The study found that betaine can contribute to creatine synthesis, which improves strength, power and short-term performance.

For this study, researchers tested college-aged cyclists three times. The first test established baseline performance.  The subjects were then given either half of a commercially-available sports drink or a betaine-infused drink twice a day for seven days, then were tested again.  Three weeks later, the subjects repeated the same process, but drank the beverage they hadn’t consumed.  The results showed that one week of the betaine drink increased peak and average anaerobic power by 5.5 percent.

To see the best results, the researchers suggest dissolving 2.5 grams of betaine – either powder or tablet form – in a 20 ounce sports drink.  They say it’s most effective by drinking half of it in the morning and half in the afternoon.

While betaine is already found in some performance-enhancing supplements available in vitamin shops, this study provides scientific proof that the nutrient can be helpful.

NEXT: The benefits of a vacation  

Sourced from: Science Daily, Legal Performance Enhancer Discovered in the Nutrient Betaine