What Is Nitric Oxide?
Before we delve into SuperBeets, we need to introduce nitric oxide. What's that? Nitric oxide —abbreviated as “NO” —is a gas. We make it naturally within our blood vessels. It plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the body.
For example, nitric oxide can reduce blood pressure and reduce the stickiness of blood cells. This helps the blood move smoothly through the body. One aspect of NO that gets a lot of attention is its ability to help relax (vasodilate) blood vessels. This also helps keep blood flowing.
If you take pre-workout supplements or products for male performance you may have noticed that many of them contain the amino acid, arginine. That's because this amino acid helps us make nitric oxide. See my review on Force Factor for more on arginine and nitric oxide.
Beetroot juice (and supplements) work differently at generating nitric oxide than arginine however.
Something else that can generate nitric oxide are substances called nitrates. Beets are a rich source of nitrates. When we eat nitrates, we convert those into nitrites, which, in turn, can be turned into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, can open up blood vessels.
So, the idea is by giving the body nitrates from beets (and green, leafy vegetables), this will increase nitric oxide levels. There is research on this too.
According to the product website, 1 teaspoon (about 5 grams) is the equivalent of 3 organic beets. In 1 in teaspoon there are the following ingredients:
The product website also states that SuperBeets contains:
- Non-GMO beetroot crystals
- Malic acid
- Stevia leaf extract
- Natural flavors (they don’t say what those flavors are)
The beets used in the product are organically grown. Also, all beets are grown in the US. The website also states that SuperBeets is made in a facility that processes soy, milk, eggs, nuts wheat. This is valuable information for people with allergies to these foods.
I was intrigued by the possibility that SuperBeets might raise nitric oxide levels in humans. But, when I looked through the product website, I didn’t find any research specifically on SuperBeets. One of the pages at Neogensis.com, did list some research studies. Here is a summary the research I found (update: these studies are no longer found on the site):
A 2005 study titled, Nitrite is a signaling molecule and regulator of gene expression in mammalian tissues. This study does not involve SuperBeets. Rather, it describes how nitrites -compounds similar to nitrates – can alter gene expression.
A 2008 paper tilted Nitric oxide promotes distant organ protection: Evidence for an endocrine role of nitric oxide. This is a mouse study that appears to show that nitric oxide may have hormone like effects and impact organs far from where it was produced. This study did not involve SuperBeets.
A 2009 review paper titled Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. This paper only discusses the potential benefits of eating plant sources of nitrates and nitrites. This paper does not discuss SuperBeets.
A 2009 paper titled Cardioprotective actions of nitrite therapy and dietary considerations. This paper does not discuss SuperBeets.
The product website site also mentions a 2011 paper titled, All-natural nitrite and nitrate containing dietary supplement promotes nitric oxide production and reduces triglycerides in humans. This study appears to show that people (who had high triglycerides) had a 72% reduction in triglycerides after taking a nitric oxide supplement for 30 days.
The supplement used in this study was not SuperBeets but rather, a nitric oxide lozenge supplement called Neo 40 another product made by NeoGenis.
I could not tell from the summary of the study if there was a placebo group or how many people were involved in the investigation.
The product website also lists a 2012 paper titled Nitric-oxide supplementation for treatment of long-term complications in argininosuccinic aciduria. This paper describes how a person (1 person) with a condition, characterized by low levels of nitric oxide, showed reduced blood pressure after 9 months treatment with Neo40. This product contains other ingredients not found in SuperBeets.
To further attempt to find evidence for the product:
- I checked the National Library of Medicine and searched for “SuperBeets.” No studies on the product were returned.
- Then, I looked at ClinicalTrials.gov and likewise, saw no studies on SuperBeets.
- After that, I then Googled “SuperBeets Research” but saw no research studies on the product.
My inability to locate research might mean SuperBeets —itself – may not yet have been tested in published peer reviewed investigations.
SuperBeets and Exercise
I've heard reports from some who say that SuperBeets helps them exercise better. While I was not able to locate any studies on SuperBeets specifically, there has been some research on beet root juice and exercise. Some studies say it works and others say beetroot juice doesn't work.
Just a few investigations I located include these:
A 2014 study titled Beetroot Juice Improves on-Water 500 m Time-Trial Performance, and Laboratory-Based Paddling Economy in National and International-Level Kayak Athletes. In this study, beetroot juice improved kayak performance under laboratory conditions.
A 2014 study titled, Effect of beetroot juice supplementation on aerobic response during swimming. Here, beetroot juice appeared to help aerobic performance in swimmers.
A 2015 study titled The effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on the oxygen cost of cycling, walking performance and resting blood pressure in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a double blind placebo controlled, randomised control trial. This study showed beetroot juice did not help cycling ability or blood pressure in in people with lung problems.
A 2015 study titled Acute dietary nitrate supplementation does not augment submaximal forearm exercise hyperemia in healthy young men, noted that, despite the supplement raising nitrate levels, there was no vasodilation (opening up) of the brachial artery at rest or during exercise.
This is odd because the supplement did raise nitrate levels. One might assume this would mean more nitric oxide – and hence, vasodilation of blood vessels. But, this didn't appear to occur. This may be a problem with the study.
A 2014 study titled Nitrate supplementation and high-intensity performance in competitive cyclists. Here, beetroot juice appeared ineffective
at improving exercise performance in nationally ranked cyclists.
A 2014 study titled, A single dose of beetroot juice enhances cycling performance in simulated altitude. In this investigation beetroot juice helped performance in trained cyclists.
The different outcomes from the studies may be due to a variety of issues ranging from the type of supplement used, how the measurements were taken, the people taking the supplement and even the intensity of exercise used in the different studies.
Who Makes SupeBeets?
NeoGenis Labs (now called HumanN) is the company that makes the product. Their website is NeoGensis.com. This website lists a physical address of 1120 S Capital of Texas Highway Building 1, Suite 210 Austin, TX 78746. If you Google this address (minus the suite 210) you can see that it corresponds to what a large business complex.
Another name for the company appears to be NLogix Labs. This name is likely older and does not appear to be used any longer. I point this out because this was the company name listed in when I searched the Better Business Bureau. At the time I wrote this review, the BBB gave NLogix labs (and presumably NeoGenis labs) a rating of “B+.” See the BBB file for updates and more information.
Update: NeoGenis Labs has changed their name to “HumanN.” Their new website is HumanN.com.
If you have questions or want to order SuperBeets or any other product made my NeoGenis /HumanN, the product website lists a customer support number of 888-556-9747. This number goes to a call center, which is located in New Jersey. When I called, I found their product specialists very helpful. Another contact number is 855-636-4040.
The product can also be ordered directly from their website.
How to Return SuperBeets
When buying from the product website, SuperBeets has a 30 day money back guarantee. The product can be used or not used, but it must be returned in its original packaging. To Return SuperBeets call 1-888-898-5872 and obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA number) first. This number must be written on the outside of the package to be returned. Customer service will give you the address to return the product and any other necessary instructions.
Terms And Conditions
If you look the Terms and Conditions Page of NeoGenis.com (HumanN), number 14 and 15 of the page describe how people waive certain rights when purchasing products from the website. This includes the inability to take part in class action lawsuits and going through binding arbitration. Many companies have similar stipulations as a way of protecting themselves. This makes sense to me. I wanted to point this out in case it matters to someone.
Can You Get Too Many Beets?
Beets are a source of nitrates. Nitrates help us make nitric oxide. In medicine, there is a condition called nitrate tolerance. Basically, the nitrates that used to work, don’t anymore. The body gets used to them and this stops them from increasing nitric oxide levels. This can happen during medical therapies such as heart patients using nitroglycerin tablets.
Might natural nitrates from food (or supplements) also cause nitrate tolerance? Well, the nitrates from food are inorganic (naturally occurring nitrates) while those used in medicine are organic (synthetic nitrates).
I’m not aware of any instances of food having a reduced effect to generate nitric oxide when eaten regularly. As for beetroot supplements, while I have some doubts this would happen, I’m honestly not sure. A cardiologist, dietitian or pharmacist might be able to shed more light on this.
The Well-Being Secrets website has an extensive 6,000 word article on the benefits of beets that is worth checking out.
Super Beets Side Effects
I'm not aware of any problems resulting from SuperBeets. When I searched online for “Super Beets Side Effects,” I didn’t see anything bad show up. That's good.
What follows are some general thoughts that occurred to me as I wrote this review. Speak to your doctor if you believe any of this applies to you.
SuperBeets is made in a facility that processes soy, milk, eggs, nuts wheat. This information may help those who are allergic to these foods.
Beets may turn urine or bowl movements orange/red but this is harmless. As is reported at DoctorOz.com, people who get kidney stones, may want to avoid beet root juice. Whether this pertains to SuperBeets (or other beet-juice supplements), I’m not sure.
If SuperBeets does raise nitric oxide, it makes sense that this could reduce blood pressure. While this may be a reason people are attracted to beetroot juice supplements, there is, at least, a theoretical possibility that this beneficial effect may be an issue for those taking high blood pressure medications. I think people who have problems with blood pressure or kidneys or heart disease should talk to their doctor before trying beet root supplements.
Stop taking beetroot juice supplements at least 2 weeks before having surgery. Speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing also.
The role that nitric oxide it plays in health is very complicated. We often hear only the good aspects of this gas, but as is pointed out in this 2013 paper titled Nitric Oxide And Cancer: A Review, there may be another side to this discussion that should be considered by some people. Nitric oxide levels are sometimes higher in people who have cancer. This doesn’t necessarily mean nitric oxide causes cancer, but it's another reason why those with health conditions of any kind to speak to their doctor about their desire to raise nitric oxide levels through supplements.
Leah Cannon (no relation), a science writer and aging researcher, points out that nitric oxide is a free radical. Is this a good thing or bad? I'm currently not aware of any beet root juice research looking at this angle.
Natural Ways to Raise Nitric Oxide
Eating beets and other vegetables —and taking some supplements —appears to raise NO levels. But, are there other ways to do this? I found clinical studies that these other things can also naturally raise nitric oxide levels:
I'm also tempted to add massage to this list but I’m currently hard-pressed to find clinical proof for it (Hey massage therapists, find me proof!) So, which works best? My guess is probably exercise, followed by eating better (this can include eating beets or other similar foods). That said, I believe nitric oxide levels are one piece in a very complicated puzzle. Only doing one thing may not be enough for some people.
Are beets the only food that has nitrates? No. Green vegetables like spinach have it too.
SuperBeets vs. Beets
I'm sure some reading this review will ask the question, “Can’t' you just juice beets and get the same effect?” This makes sense and some studies have, in fact, used beet root juice rather than supplements. As is pointed out in the book, The Athletes Guide To Sports Supplements, 4 oz of beetroot has about 300 mg of natural nitrates. I'm not sure how many nitrates are in 4 oz of SuperBeets. Personally, I'd love to see a study comparing the effects of beetroot juice supplements – to juicing beets on your own.
SuperBeets appears to be concentrated with 1 teaspoon giving the equivalent of 3 organically grown beets. But, is more always better? Supplements are more convenient to use so they have that going for them too. For the most part, I think this comes down to a personal preference. For me, I prefer to juice them myself.
Does SuperBeets Work?
Honestly, I can't tell because I didn’t see any clinical trials on SuperBeets itself, although the testimonials I've seen are interesting. If a supplement does contain the same ingredients in beets (nitrates) that raise NO levels, then I can see how it might work. Some research does suggest this also. That said, I'd like to see a study showing that the product actually raises nitric oxide levels in humans. I'd also be interested in knowing how long the those levels stay elevated after using the supplement.
At this time I'm not sure if any beetroot juice supplement works better than others or whether they are better than simply juicing your own beets. SuperBeets may be everything it is advertised to be. Personally, I would like to see one or two studies on SuperBeets before passing a final judgment.