Q: I read the article on beetroot juice and inorganic nitrate that lowers blood pressure. I’ve also read that sodium nitrate is unhealthy. What is the difference between inorganic nitrate and sodium nitrate?
A: In the study that looked at the blood pressure lowering quality of beetroot juice, the inorganic nitrate was potassium nitrate(KNO3).
Potassium nitrate is also known as saltpeter. It is a different nitrate than sodium nitrate (NaN03). Both are used to preserve meats, and can be used in fertilizer and pesticides. Sodium nitrate is felt to be the better food preservative so is now used more frequently than potassium nitrate. There is some concern that eating large quantities of sodium nitrate might increase the risk of cancer.