The importance of nitric oxide (NO) in biological processes was discovered fairly recently. In fact, the discovery of many of its functions in the body ultimately led to a Nobel Prize, which gives some indication of its importance. It was named “molecule of the year” by Science magazine in 1992, which was considered a lofty achievement in the science world.
It’s no surprise both athletes and the supplement industry have jumped on learning more about the benefits of NO for exercise. I recently got to try the Neogenis product called Beet Elite Neo Shot, a supplement that boosts NO levels and is designed for improving strength, endurance, and recovery. NO has too many actions to list in just one review. Perhaps the most dramatic and noticeable function it plays for athletes is as a vasodilator. This means it relaxes your blood vessels, allowing for improved blood flow. Blood flow is important for any athlete in any discipline, and useful for performance as well as recovery.
One of the most common ways to obtain NO is through ingesting nitrates. In the body, nitrates become nitrites, which then become NO. A portion of this interaction happens in the mouth, where bacteria convert the nitrates into nitrites, allowing for simple saliva testing of NO levels. For this reason, Neogenis also provides an NO testing strip with their Beet Elite so you can actually see the product working. They sell the strips if you ever want more. The product itself is a crystal that dissolves easily in water.
As you can tell by the name, beets are a main ingredient in this product. Beets, along with leafy green vegetables like spinach, are high in nitrates. Nitrates are often given a bad rap as the chemical additive in processed meats. Processing, and heat processing in particular, can make nitrates bind with amino acids that are present in meat but not vegetables to create carcinogenic substances. However, nitrates are naturally-occurring substances that have benefits, too.
NO has the potential to be as important and basic a supplement as creatine or a good multivitamin. Neogenis also provides the nutrition of dried beets. The short list of other product ingredients includes stevia to help with flavor. Beets are a sugary root, so there are 7g of sugar per serving. Otherwise, the formula is simple and effective at boosting NO and you can see it for yourself by using the test strips.
The first time I used Beet Elite I ran to the next town over in record time, despite a stiff knee and stopping to talk to a friend I saw on the way. I can tell you, I was instantly sold. However, I didn’t have the same crazy performance boost with subsequent uses. With something as complex as running performance it’s impossible to say exactly how much an anecdote can demonstrate usefulness, but I can confidently say the improvement I noticed the first time was substantial.
One thing to consider with this supplement is that if you have a diet high in leafy veggies and beets, you may not get a substantial effect. Also, if you’re already taking an NO supplement beside this product, you may not need more for improved athleticism. If not, this supplement is definitely worth a try for lifters, CrossFitters, endurance athletes, and really anyone in any sport.
Tastewise, Beet Elite is only slightly beety. I don’t mind the flavor of beets, but they aren’t my favorite. I could definitely detect the beet taste coming through, but the black cherry flavor of the Beet Elite I used was sweet and delicious. Beet Elite also comes in a classic beet flavor. This supplement mixed easily in water, with just a shake or two of the bottle.
I recommend everyone try a NO supplement to see if it works for them. The simple process guarantees a benefit, even if a subtle one, for those not getting enough dietary precursors to NO, like the nitrates and nitrites present in Beet Elite. With minimal processing, a simple formula, good flavor, convenient packaging, and ease of use, Beet Elite should be on your supplement radar.
Beet Elite is available for $34.99 at NeogenisSport.com.