Christian Behrens

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Assistant Professor
PhD, Nutrition Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham


Dr. Behrens is an Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Foods at Appalachian State University. He received his Ph.D. in Nutrition Sciences from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his MS in Nutrition Science along with a two BS degrees in Exercise Science and Nutrition and Foods from Appalachian State University. As a lifelong athlete and former Director of Performance Nutrition for a NCAA Division I athletic department, Dr. Behrens has a great appreciation for the marriage between nutrition and exercise in achieving and sustaining health. As such, his research interests revolve around utilizing nutrition-based strategies to improve exercise tolerance/participation in clinical populations, specifically in those with obesity. This research has primarily involved exploring foods rich in dietary nitrate (beets, spinach, and arugula) to enhance nitric oxide bioavailability and in turn improve exercise and cardiometabolic health outcomes. As a registered dietitian working in both clinical and athletic populations, Dr. Behrens has had the privilege of mentoring several future dietitians and healthcare professionals and finds teaching and mentoring to be the most rewarding part of his job. Having spent 9 years as a Boone resident and Appalachian student prior to obtaining his PhD, he couldn’t think of a better place to work, live, and enjoy life. Outside of his professional life, Dr. Behrens loves all things the High Country has to offer including trail running, hiking, cycling, climbing, gardening, and foraging for mushrooms!


  • PhD, Nutrition Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2020
  • Registered Dietitian (RD), 2016, Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • MS, Nutrition Science, Appalachian State University , 2016
  • BS, Nutrition and Foods, Appalachian State University, 2014
  • BS, Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, 2011

Current Courses Being Taught

  • NUT 2202 Nutrition and Health

Professional Affiliations / Organizations

  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Research Interests

  • Non-pharmacological, nutrition-based interventions to improve exercise tolerance and cardiometabolic health in individuals with obesity
  • The role of dietary nitrate and the oral microbiome in health and disease
  • Ergogenic potential for dietary nitrate in sport and exercise performance

Selected Publications

  • Behrens CE, Delk-Licata A, Benardot D, Bertrand BM, Chandler-Laney PC, Plaisance EP, Fernandez JR The relationship between hourly energy balance and fat mass in female collegiate soccer players. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, [S.l.], p. in press, nov. 2019.
  • Delk-Licata A, Behrens CE, Benardot D, Bertrand BM, Chandler-Laney PC, et al. (2019) The Association between Dietary Protein Intake Frequency, Amount, and State of Energy Balance on Body Composition in a Women's Collegiate Soccer Team. Int J Sports Exerc Med 5:123.
  • Fisher G, Gower BA, Ovalle F, Behrens CE, Hunter GR. Acute Effects of Exercise Intensity on Insulin Sensitivity under Energy Balance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2019;51(5):988-994.
  • C. Demczar, C. Behrens, L. Baltz, V.P. Georgescu, D. Arminavage, J.M. Brown, D. Fussell, T.C. Trate, S.R. McAnulty, L.S. McAnulty, E.K. Merritt (2017): Six weeks of daily blueberry consumption does not alter aged skeletal muscle inflammation profile or inflammatory response to eccentric-exercise. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP).
  • Georgescu VP, de Souza Junior TP, Behrens C, et al. Effect of exercise-induced dehydration on circulatory markers of oxidative damage and antioxidant capacity. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017;42(7):694-699.