The study, ‘Acute Whole Body UVA Irradiation Combined with Nitrate Ingestion Enhances Time Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists’, saw nine competitive amateur male cyclists completing a number of performance tests at facilities at the University’s Hamilton Campus.

The findings of this study, which have been published in the journal Nitric Oxide – Biology and Chemistry, showed that ingesting nitrate gels in combination with UV-A light lowered the amount of oxygen consumed by the body (VO2) during exercise and enhanced the time trial performance of the cyclists.

Dr Chris Easton of the University’s Institute for Clinical Exercise and Health Science, was a key member of the research team that undertook this study.

This research builds on a previous study that Dr Easton headed-up that revealed that nitrate-rich beetroot juice can significantly benefit athletic performance at altitude.

Dr Easton said: “This research cements our understanding of the importance of nitric oxide to athletic performance. Large stores of nitric oxide released from the skin help more blood and oxygen flow to your muscles during exercise. Plus, by reducing the amount of oxygen the muscles use to produce force, nitric oxide helps athletes go harder, longer.

“Our latest research suggests that either 20 minutes of simulated sunlight exposure or ingestion of a nitrate gel results in a small benefit to exercise performance. However, a combination of the treatments significantly improves cycling performance as well as positively impacting a number of other physiological outcomes. For example, our data suggest that blood pressure is reduced to a greater degree when the nitrate dose is combined with sunlight. Perhaps, therefore, it is not just a question of what you eat, but where you eat it.”


Read the original article – University of the West of Scotland: ‘UWS research reveals that sunlight combined with nitrate-rich foods improve athletic performance’