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Incremental Doses of Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice Do Not Modify Cognitive Function and Cerebral Blood Flow in Overweight and Obese Older Adults: A 13-Week Pilot Randomised Clinical Trial

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Abrar Babateen, Dr Oliver Shannon, Dr Gerry O'BrienORCiD, Dr Ed Okello, Dilara Olgacer, William Fostier, Professor David Kennedy, Professor John Mathers, Dr Mario Siervo



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Nitrate-rich food increases nitric oxide (NO) production and may have beneficial effects on vascular, metabolic, and brain function. This pilot study tested the effects of prolonged consumption of a range of doses of dietary nitrate (NO3−), provided as beetroot juice, on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in overweight and obese older participants. The study had a 13-week single-blind, randomised, parallel design, and 62 overweight and obese older participants (aged 60 to 75 years) received the following interventions: (1) high NO3− (2 × 70 mL beetroot juice/day) (2) medium NO3− (70 mL beetroot juice/day), (3) low NO3− (70 mL beetroot juice on alternate days), or (4) placebo (70 mL of NO3−-depleted beetroot juice on alternate days). Cognitive functions were assessed using the Computerised Mental Performance Assessment System (COMPASS) assessment battery. CBF, monitored by concentration changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin, was assessed in the frontal cortex using near-infrared spectroscopy. The findings of this pilot study showed that cognitive function and CBF were not affected by supplementation with NO3−-rich beetroot juice for 13 weeks, irrespective of the NO3− dose administered. These findings require confirmation in larger studies using more sophisticated imaging methods (i.e., MRI) to determine whether prolonged dietary NO3− supplementation influences brain function in older overweight people.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Babateen AM, Shannon OM, O'brien GM, Okello E, Smith E, Olgacer D, Koehl C, Fostier W, Wightman E, Kennedy D, Mathers JC, Siervo M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2022

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Online publication date: 02/03/2022

Acceptance date: 25/02/2022

Date deposited: 23/03/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/nu14051052


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Newcastle University core budget