Beetroot seems to have an EPO-like effect on your red blood cell production. Regular use of EPO also seems to make your body dependent on it for proper red blood cell production. Can regular consumption of beetroot then have the same effect on on your substantive red blood cell production when you stop consuming it after a long period of regular consumption?

1 Answer 1


Beetroot (or rather the nitrites in it) works very differently from EPO. EPO increases the count of red blood cells (which are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients. Nitrites on the other hand are converted by the body to Nitrous Oxide which in turn increases your blood's capacity to bind (carry) oxygen.

In other words, the former increases carrying capacity by increasing overall volume percentage while the latter increases innate capacity.

When you increase volume from external sources your body may adapt by generating less of its own. But this is not the case when you enhance the capacity of what is already given.

On a side note, nitrites (which are good for you) are not to be confused with nitrates (which are really bad).

On a second side note: the effects of beet juice are limited by a number of factors, including the bodies ability to process the juice. If you plan to use beets as part of a race or workout strategy make sure you can tolerate the stuff...

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