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How much beet juice should I drink a day for blood pressure?

Introduction

Beet juice has become a popular supplemental drink for health, with one of its touted benefits being the ability to lower blood pressure. Beets are high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect. But how much beet juice should you drink each day to potentially see these benefits? Let’s take a look at the research and key factors to consider.

How Beet Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

When eaten, dietary nitrates in beets get converted in the body to nitric oxide, which is a molecule that dilates blood vessels. This dilation of blood vessels then leads to lowering of blood pressure.

Some key points about how beet juice may help lower blood pressure:

– Multiple studies have shown that consuming beet juice can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure within a few hours of drinking it. The reductions seen are typically in the range of 4-10 mmHg.

– One study found that drinking 250 mL of beet juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by about 4-5 mmHg after about four weeks.

– The effect seems most pronounced within the first few hours of consuming beet juice and declines after about 24 hours.

– People with hypertension, or high blood pressure, may see greater reductions in blood pressure from drinking beet juice.

So in summary, the nitrates in beet juice appear capable of dilating blood vessels and lowering blood pressure, at least for a short period after drinking it. Longer term benefits seem achievable as well with daily consumption.

Recommended Daily Dosage

Most studies on beet juice and blood pressure have looked at dosages in the range of 200-250 mL per day. For example:

– A study in hypertensive patients tested 250 mL of beet juice per day, which lowered systolic blood pressure by about 7 mmHg after four weeks.

– Another study found 200 mL of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg within two hours.

Based on this research, it appears 200-250 mL (about 6-8 ounces) of beet juice per day is enough to start providing blood pressure lowering effects.

It’s also important to note that some beet juice studies have used juice concentrations equivalent to about 2-3 whole beets worth of nitrates. So you may be able to achieve benefits from whole beets as well, though juice may provide a more reliable dosage.

juice_table

Beet Juice Amount Equivalent Whole Beets
200 mL 2 medium beets
250 mL 3 medium beets

So in summary, 200-250 mL (6-8 oz) of beet juice per day, ideally split into a few servings, appears to be an effective amount for lowering blood pressure. This is equivalent to about 2-3 whole medium sized beets in terms of nitrate content.

Other Dietary Considerations

A few other dietary factors related to beet juice and blood pressure include:

Avoid excessive sodium – High sodium levels can blunt the blood pressure lowering effects of beet juice. Limit other high sodium foods when drinking beet juice.

Get adequate magnesium – Magnesium helps with the conversion of nitrates to nitric oxide. Make sure to get at least 400 mg of magnesium per day.

Increase potassium intake – Like magnesium, potassium aids the work of nitric oxide in blood pressure regulation. Focus on potassium-rich foods like avocados, bananas and spinach.

Time it right – For maximum effect, consider drinking beet juice about 2-3 hours before the period you most want lower blood pressure, such as in the mornings before work.

Making sure the rest of your diet supports healthy blood pressure can help enhance any benefits seen from beet juice.

Other Factors that Impact Effects

A few other factors may influence just how much someone’s blood pressure is reduced by drinking beet juice:

Hypertension status – Those with high blood pressure (hypertension) tend to see greater reductions than those with normal blood pressure.

Nitrate tolerance – The blood pressure lowering effects seem most pronounced with the first few doses, then the effects can lessen as the body builds tolerance.

Medications – Certain blood pressure medications, like beta-blockers, may blunt the effects of beet juice. Talk to your doctor.

Quality of juice – Juice processing and storage can affect nitrate levels. Check labels and aim for minimal processing.

The degree of blood pressure reduction can vary quite a bit based on these other factors. Monitoring your levels helps determine your individual response.

Putting it All Together

Here are some key takeaways for how much beet juice to drink per day for lowering blood pressure:

– 200-250 mL (6-8 oz) of beet juice per day seems optimal for potentially lowering BP. Split into 2-3 servings.

– This is equivalent to about 2-3 whole medium beets in terms of nitrates.

– Best taken 2-3 hours before you want the greatest blood pressure lowering effects.

– Maximize benefits by limiting sodium, increasing potassium and magnesium, and avoiding BP meds that may interfere.

– Those with hypertension and first-time beet juice drinkers tend to see the greatest reductions.

– Benefits decline over time as tolerance builds; take occasional breaks.

Drinking 6-8 oz of beet juice per day appears to be a safe, natural way to potentially lower blood pressure, especially when combined with a healthy diet and other lifestyle measures. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.

Potential Side Effects

Beet juice is generally safe to consume daily, but there are a few potential side effects to be aware of:

Beeturia – Beet pigments can turn urine and stool pink or reddish in color. This is harmless but can be alarming if not expected.

Kidney stones – The oxalate content of beets may contribute to kidney stone formation in those already prone to them.

Low blood pressure – If your blood pressure is normal, beet juice could potentially lower it excessively. Monitor your levels.

Drug interactions – Beet juice may interact with certain medications like blood thinners. Speak with your doctor.

To avoid issues, start with a small amount of beet juice and monitor your body’s response. Speak with your healthcare provider about any concerns.

The Bottom Line

In summary, research suggests 200-250 mL (6-8 oz) of beet juice per day, ideally split into multiple servings consumed a few hours apart, is an appropriate amount that may provide modest reductions in blood pressure in many people, especially those with hypertension. This seems equivalent to consuming 2-3 whole medium beets.

However, effects can vary quite a bit based on individual factors. Monitoring your levels, adjusting dosage as needed, and being aware of potential side effects allows you to safely take advantage of any blood pressure lowering effects from beet juice as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.

References

  1. Siervo M, Lara J, Ogbonmwan I, Mathers JC. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2013;143(6):818–826.
  2. Kapil V, Khambata RS, Robertson A, Caulfield MJ, Ahluwalia A. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015;65(2):320–327.
  3. Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S, et al. Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Hypertension. 2008;51(3):784–790.
  4. Ashor AW, Chowdhury S, Oggioni C, et al. Inorganic nitrate supplementation in young and old obese adults does not affect acute glucose and insulin responses but lowers oxidative stress. J Nutr. 2016;146(11):2224–2232.