Superbeets Heart Chews: The “Magic” Isn’t in the Beets
There’s no shortage of mass market supplement offerings that are constantly plastered across media outlets (e.g. Nugenix, Force Factor, etc.). Despite the haughty claims and fancy ad-speak, the vast majority of these products are woefully underdosed.
Along these lines, Sandy asked me the other day about a product she saw an advertisement for called Superbeets Heart Chews. With the understanding that she learned of the product on a TV/radio spot, I quickly made the flippant remark, “it’s probably underdosed garbage that includes 500mg of beet root extract and not much more.”
When I finally pulled up the ingredients panel for Superbeets Heart Chews, I wasn’t far off:
The question remains though -- are Superbeets Heart Chews a “scam” or are they just another underdosed, mass market supplement?
Superbeets Heart Chews Ingredients
Beet Root Extract (500mg)
Beetroot is rich in dietary nitrate (NO3-), and consuming nitrate-rich foods has been shown to increase nitric oxide (NO) levels, improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and boost exercise performance.
The dose of dietary nitrate found to benefit cardiovascular health and athletic performance is at least 300-600mg (~4.8-9.8 mmol) nitrate.[1,2,3,4]
Regarding beetroot, specifically, most studies have individuals consume 500mL of beetroot juice (delivering an average of ~5-8mmol nitrate per serving). In addition to nitrates, beetroot juice also contains other bioactive compounds that act independently or synergistically with nitrate to improve NO production and blood flow, including polyphenols such as quercetin and resveratrol as well as antioxidants.
However, the form of beetroot juice commonly included in most dietary supplements, including Superbeets Heart Chews, is 500mg beet root powder. There is no standardization for nitrate contents, it’s just dried, ground up beetroot. Average nitrate contents of beetroot powder, according to research, is between 1-5%.[5,6] It also should be stated that 500mg of beet root powder is NOT equivalent to 500mL of beetroot juice.
Interestingly, Superbeets (and their parent company HumanN) have had their “nitrate-rich” beetroot powders tested by 3rd party researchers. You can see the results below…
As you can see, the amount of nitrates delivered per 5,000mg serving of Superbeets beetroot powder is only ~1.03mmol (63.86mg) nitrates…This is ~4-5x less than the efficacious amount of nitrate noted in research to offer cardiovascular and athletic performance benefits.
Furthermore, the amount of beetroot powder included in a serving of Superbeets Heart Chews is 500mg, which means you’re probably only getting about 30-35mg of actual nitrates in a serving of the supplement -- 10x less than the minimal dose shown in research to improve NO levels and blood flow.
The takeaway here is that (at best) you’re getting some polyphenols that may support healthy blood flow and nitric oxide production, but in terms of getting any profound boost in nitrate concentrations or NO from the beet component of Superbeets Heart Chews, it doesn’t look promising.
The other ingredient included in Superbeets Heart Chews is doing the real work, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Nitrates & Exercise: Timing is Everything
One thing to keep in mind concerning nitrate supplementation, particularly in regards to athletic performance, is that it takes between 1-2 hours after ingestion for plasma nitrate levels to peak , and plasma nitrite levels peak after 2–3 hours following ingestion. Research also indicates that both nitrate and nitrite levels gradually return to baseline after about 24 hours.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid excessive use of mouthwash with beetroot juice supplementation as it can limit the effects of nitrate ingestion.
Enovita® Grape Seed Extract (150mg)
Enovita is a trademarked, proprietary grape seed extract standardized to provide:
- ≥95.0% of proanthocyanidins by spectrophotometry
- ≥5.0%, ≤15.0% of catechin and epicatechin by HPLC
A number of studies have been conducted over the years on grape seed extract and its effects on various markers of cardiometabolic health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.
Grape seed extract is a rich source of polyphenols and antioxidants, especially proanthocyanidins which have been investigated for their health-promoting effects. Proanthocyanidins are products of the flavonoid pathway and are related to anthocyanins (the “fun” bioactive compounds in blueberries and other dark berries that aid cardiovascular and cognitive health).
Proanthocyanidins support healthy blood pressure by modulating angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and stimulating endothelial nitrogen oxide synthase (eNOS).[14,15,16]
Compounds that limit or blunt the activity of are referred to as ACE inhibitors, and they are one of the major targets of researchers for combating high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors block the conversion of angiotensin I to the vasoconstrictor compound, angiotensin II. By inhibiting ACE, there will be lower levels of angiotensin II, which helps reduce vasopressor activity and decreased aldosterone secretion.
The end result is increased vasodilation, which helps blood vessels to stay open and flexible -- aiding blood flow, circulation, nutrient delivery, and more.
A 2020 meta-analysis concluded that supplementing with grape seed extract decreased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. A prior 2016 meta-analysis by Zhang et al. concluded that grape seed extracts can help decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with effects being significantly more pronounced in subjects with metabolic syndrome and in pre-hypertensive individuals.
A 2021 meta-analysis, including 13 studies analyzing the potential BP-lowering effects of grape seed extract supplementation, found an average systolic blood pressure decrease of 9.3 mmHg which is equivalent to a 10% risk reduction for stroke.
Apart from the other studies referenced above, there are two human studies (to date) specifically investigating the benefits of Enovita.[20,21]
Enovita Study #1
The first human trial published on Enovita was a controlled registry study involving 119 healthy, pre- and mildly hypertensive subjects. Two dosages of Enovita were evaluated (150mg and 300mg/day.
Researchers concluded, “After four months of treatment, a statistically significant higher, and dose-dependent, improvement in all endpoints was observed in the treatment groups compared to that of the control, with blood pressure normalizing in 93% of the higher dosage (300 mg) treatment group.”
In other words, 150mg Enovita was helpful, but 300mg offered greater benefits for blood pressure.
Enovita Study #2
A 2021 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled parallel group study was conducted in 80 men and women with mild hypertension. Participants consumed either placebo or 150mg Enovita grape seed extract twice daily (for a total of 300mg/day) for 16 weeks.
Significant reductions of systolic blood pressure of −4.6 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of −3.2 mmHg was observed in men after 16 weeks of Enovita supplementation. Interestingly, researchers also noticed a trend toward lower feelings of self-perceived stress by the men and women after the study.
The takeaway here is that 300mg Enovita supports reductions in elevated blood pressure -- 150mg was not investigated.
Are Superbeets Heart Chews Worth It?
Despite the slew of advertisements, Superbeets Heart Chews are really just a sprinkle of beet root powder and the lesser-beneficial dose of grape seed extract (150mg).
As shown above, beetroot powder is more hype than substance since it contains negligible amounts of actual dietary nitrates. If you’re actually interested in the NO-boosting, BP-lowering effects of nitrates, then it would be better to consume a nitrate-rich diet (dark leafy greens, beets, beetroot juice) and/or supplement with nitrates (NO3-T).
As for grape seed extract, there are a wide variety of high-quality grape seed extracts available in both powder and capsule forms that are better dosed (300-600 mg/serving) and more affordable.
For my money, I’d look to a bulk grape seed extract supplement and focus on consuming enough other high-quality foods throughout the day/week.
Are Superbeets Heart Chews “bad”?
Are they overhyped and potentially misbranded?
In my opinion, yes.
The real workhorse in Superbeets Heart Chews is the grape seed extract. Even then, to get the maximum benefit of Enovita (per the published research), you’d need to consume two servings of soft chews per day…OR you could just purchase a grape seed extract supplement and take one each day and be done with it.
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