|Image 1: With nitrate and nitrite, a|
single letter is of literally vital importance.
While the ergogenic potential of creatine monohydrate and its safety are well established (and I do not think I have to recite the whole litany about creatine causing kidney failure, again!? cf. Creatine Save - For Diabetics, As Well!), the studies which show that dietary supplementation with inorganic nitrate (NO3-) reduces whole body oxygen cost during physical exercise (Larson. 2007; Larson. 2010), are pretty recent and have, according to a letter to the editor of the Journal of Applied Physiology by Jon O. Lundberg et al. (Lundberg. 2011), already provoked a case of severe nitrite intoxication in an athlete who obviously wasn't aware of the major difference the "i" which distinguishes the highly reactive nitrite (NO2-) from its harmless precursor nitrate (NO3-) and developed symptoms suggestive of methemoglobinemia (increased oxidation of hemoglobin) after poisoning himself with nitrite salt.
Note! It is unlikely that you will develop methemoglobinemia from reasonable doses of nitrate, even when the lethal dose 50 (LD50 = the dose at which 50% of the subjects / lab rats who ingested the given amount of a chemical die) for nitrite is as low as 100-200mg/kg and thus in the range of cyanide. The reason for that is that, although your body will convert orally ingested nitrates to nitrite, the rate at which this process takes place is limited and this limitation is what avoids the accumulation of nitrite in your blood stream and thus saves the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in your red blood cells from being oxidized.
|Image 2: Beetroot juice is probably your |
safest source of dietary nitrate (NO3-)
(image from planetorganic.com)
A final word of caution goes out to the real bros out there: When even nitrite salt can give you hypothension and oxidize your the oxigen carrying metalloprotein in your red blood cells, nitroglycerine and amyl nitrite, both drugs that are prescribed to patients with heart disease, may literally give you the "longest lasting pump of your life" - a pump that lasts until you drop dead to the floor.