Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Matthew Vukovich


athlete, inorganic nitrate, time to exhaustion


The purpose of this paper was to systematically review the current literature and evaluate the overall efficacy of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance and performance by meta-analysis. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they met the following criteria: 1) were an experimental trial published in an English peer-reviewed journal; 2) compared the effects of inorganic nitrate consumption with a non-bioactive supplement control or placebo; 3) used a quantifiable measure of exercise performance; and 4) was carried out in apparently healthy participants without disease. A total of 29 studies were identified that investigated the effects of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance or performance in accordance with the criteria outlined. Analysis using time to exhaustion as the outcome variable revealed a significant effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance ES 0.27 (95% CI: 0.08 – 0.46; P = 0.004) compared to placebo. Analysis using time to complete a specific distance as the outcome variable revealed no significant effect of nitrate supplementation on performance ES 0.06 (95% CI: -0.27 – 0.15; P = 0.5) compared to placebo. Nitrate supplementation is likely to improve exercise tolerance and capacity but not exercise performance. More research is required to determine the optimal dose and duration of nitrate supplementation. It would also be important to consider the type of athlete performing the exercise, and the duration, intensity and mode of the exercise performed as these factors are likely to influence the efficacy of nitrate supplementation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dietary supplements.

Nitrates -- Physiological effect.

Exercise -- Physiological aspects.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 26-29)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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