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Beet (Beta vulgaris) is a flowering plant. Beet root and beet leaves are eaten as a vegetable and also used as medicine.

Beet contains chemicals that might reduce swelling and cholesterol. Beet can also increase levels of a chemical called nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide can affect blood vessels, possibly reducing blood pressure and making it easier to exercise.

People use beet most often for athletic performance and for reducing muscle soreness after exercise. It is also used for liver diseases, high blood pressure, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Athletic performance.  Oral beet may improve athletic performance associated with aerobic activities. However, it is not clear who is most likely to benefit, for which type of competition it is most useful, or what dose or duration of use is most appropriate.
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  • Exercise-induced muscle soreness.  Drinking beetroot juice 7-8 times over 48 hours after strenuous exercise may reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness.
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When taken by mouth: Beet is commonly consumed in foods. Beet and beetroot juice are possibly safe for most people when taken in larger amounts, short-term.

Beet can make urine or stools appear pink or red. But this is not harmful. There is concern that large doses of beet might cause low calcium levels and kidney damage. But this hasn't been shown to happen.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if beet is safe to use as a medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Kidney disease: Eating too many beets might make kidney disease worse.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Beet root and beet leaves are commonly eaten as food. As medicine, beetroot juice has most often been used by adults in doses of 70-140 mL by mouth daily for 21 days. Beet is also available in many other forms, including beetroot extract, beetroot powder, beetroot gel, freeze-dried beet leaf, and baked beetroot. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

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