Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

The effects of betalain-rich concentrate supplementation in attenuating muscle damage following eccentric exercise

Steven Vitti, Michael Bruneau, Kyle Leyshon, Susan Sotir, Samuel Headley, Elizabeth O'Neill


Betalains are bioactive pigments that have been shown to reduce muscle damage and enhance recovery from exercise. However, to date, studies have examined the effects of betalains on aerobic exercise alone, and thus, their possible benefits for muscle damage recovery following eccentric exercise is unknown. We, therefore, aimed to examine the effects of a betalain-rich concentrate (BRC) on indices of muscle damage following eccentric exercise. Eleven healthy, recreationally active males were randomly assigned into a treatment group (50 mg of BRC, containing 12.5 mg of betalains, 3 times per day for 3 days) or a control group and performed 30 maximal eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), arm circumference (AC), muscle soreness (MS), and range of motion (ROM) were measured before, immediately after, and 24, 48, and 72 hr following eccentric exercise. Creatine kinase (CK) was measured before, 24, 48, and 72 hr following the eccentric exercise. No significant differences or interactions were observed for any of the variables (p = > .05); however, a non-significant trend with a large effect size (p = .07, ηp2 = .28) was found for the main effect for MVC. Although we failed to identify any statistically significant differences in any of the variables measured, the large effect size observed for MVC may have practical benefits in the enhancement of skeletal muscle recovery following eccentric exercise.


Exercise recovery; Antioxidants; Beetroot


Albano, C., Negro, C., Tommasi, N., Gerardi, C., Mita, G., Miceli, A., ... & Blando, F. (2015). Betalains, phenols and antioxidant capacity in Cactus Pear [Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.] fruits from Apulia (South Italy) Genotypes. Antioxidants, 4, 269-280.

Bowtell, J., Sumners, D.P., Dyer, A., Fox, P., & Mileva, K. N. (2011). Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise. Med Sci Sport Exer, 43, 1544-151.

Brockett, C. L., Morgan, D. L., Gregory, J. E., & Proske, U. (2002). Damage to different motor units from active lengthening of the medial gastrocnemius muscle of the cat. J Appl Physiol, 92, 1104-1110.

Chazaud, B. (2016). Inflammation during skeletal muscle regeneration and tissue remodeling: application to exercise‐induced muscle damage management. Immunol Cell Biol, 94, 140-145.

Cintineo, H. P., Arent, M. A., Antonio, J., & Arent, S. M. (2018). Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training. Front Nutr, 5, 83.

Clarkson, P. M., & Hubal, M. J. (2002). Exercise-induced muscle damage in humans. Am J Phys Med Rehab, 81, S52-S69.

Close, G. L., Ashton, T., Cable, T., Doran, D., & MacLaren, D. P. (2004). Eccentric exercise, isokinetic muscle torque and delayed onset muscle soreness: the role of reactive oxygen species. Eur J Appl Physiol, 91, 615-621.

Clifford, T., Bell, O., West, D. J., Howatson, G., & Stevenson, E. J. (2016). The effects of beetroot juice supplementation on indices of muscle damage following eccentric exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol, 116, 353–362.

Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., & Lang, A. G. (2009). Statistical power analyses using G* Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behav Res Methods, 41, 1149-1160.

El Gamal, A. A., AlSaid, M. S., Raish, M., Al-Sohaibani, M., Al-Massarani, S. M., Ahmad, A., ... & Rafatullah, S. (2014). Beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extract ameliorates gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity associated oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis in rodent model. Mediat Inflamm, (Article ID 983952), vol. 2014, (12 pages), June.

Kamandulis, S., de Souza Leite, F., Hernández, A., Katz, A., Brazaitis, M., Bruton, J. D., ... & Subocius, A. (2017). Prolonged force depression after mechanically demanding contractions is largely independent of Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species. FASEB J, 31, 4809-4820.

Kanner, J., Harel, S., & Granit, R. (2001). Betalains a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants. J Agr Food Chem, 49, 5178–5185.

Khan, M. I. (2016). Plant betalains: safety, antioxidant activity, clinical efficacy, and bioavailability. Compr Rev Food Sci F, 15, 316–330.

Lamb, G. D., & Westerblad, H. (2011). Acute effects of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species on the contractile function of skeletal muscle. J Physiology, 589, 2119-2127.

Miguel, M. (2018). Betalains in some species of the Amaranthaceae family: a review. Antioxidants, 7, 53.

Montenegro, C. F., Kwong, D. A., Minow, Z. A., Davis, B. A., Lozada, C. F., & Casazza, G. A. (2016). Betalain-rich concentrate supplementation improves exercise performance and recovery in competitive triathletes. Appl Physiol Nut Me, 42, 166–172.

Paulsen, G., Ramer Mikkelsen, U., Raastad, T., & Peake, J. M. (2012). Leucocytes, cytokines and satellite cells: what role do they play in muscle damage and regeneration following eccentric exercise? Exerc Immunol Rev, 18, 42-97.

Peake, J. M., Neubauer, O., Della Gatta, P. A., & Nosaka, K. (2017). Muscle damage and inflammation during recovery from exercise. J Appl Physiol, 122, 559–570.

Pietrzkowski, Z., Nemzer, B., Spórna, A., Stalica, P., Tresher, W., Keller, R., … Wybraniec, S. (2010). Influence of betalain-rich extract on reduction of discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. New Medicine, 1, 12–17.

Place, N., Ivarsson, N., Venckunas, T., Neyroud, D., Brazaitis, M., Cheng, A. J., ... & Paužas, H. (2015). Ryanodine receptor fragmentation and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak after one session of high-intensity interval exercise. PNAS, 122, 15492-15497.

Prasartwuth, O., Taylor, J. L., & Gandevia, S. C. (2005). Maximal force, voluntary activation and muscle soreness after eccentric damage to human elbow flexor muscles. J Physiol, 567, 337-348.

Sakihama, Y., Maeda, M., Hashimoto, M., Tahara, S., & Hashidoko, Y. (2012). Beetroot betalain inhibits peroxynitrite-mediated tyrosine nitration and DNA strand cleavage. Free Radical Res, 46, 93-99.

Tesoriere, L., Allegra, M., Butera, D., & Livrea, M. A. (2004). Absorption, excretion, and distribution of dietary antioxidant betalains in LDLs: potential health effects of betalains in humans. Am J Clin Nutr, 80, 941-945.

Van Hoorebeke, J., Trias, C., Davis, B., Lozada, C., & Casazza, G. (2016). Betalain-rich concentrate supplementation improves exercise performance in competitive runners. Sports, 4, 40.


Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.