beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters.

University of Chichester, Chichester, England, United Kingdom
Journal of Applied Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.43). 12/2007; 103(5):1736-43. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00397.2007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine) is present in high concentrations in human skeletal muscle. The ingestion of beta-alanine, the rate-limiting precursor of carnosine, has been shown to elevate the muscle carnosine content. We aimed to investigate, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (proton MRS), whether oral supplementation with beta-alanine during 4 wk would elevate the calf muscle carnosine content and affect exercise performance in 400-m sprint-trained competitive athletes. Fifteen male athletes participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study and were supplemented orally for 4 wk with either 4.8 g/day beta-alanine or placebo. Muscle carnosine concentration was quantified in soleus and gastrocnemius by proton MRS. Performance was evaluated by isokinetic testing during five bouts of 30 maximal voluntary knee extensions, by endurance during isometric contraction at 45% maximal voluntary contraction, and by the indoor 400-m running time. beta-Alanine supplementation significantly increased the carnosine content in both the soleus (+47%) and gastrocnemius (+37%). In placebo, carnosine remained stable in soleus, while a small and significant increase of +16% occurred in gastrocnemius. Dynamic knee extension torque during the fourth and fifth bout was significantly improved with beta-alanine but not with placebo. Isometric endurance and 400-m race time were not affected by treatment. In conclusion, 1) proton MRS can be used to noninvasively quantify human muscle carnosine content; 2) muscle carnosine is increased by oral beta-alanine supplementation in sprint-trained athletes; 3) carnosine loading slightly but significantly attenuated fatigue in repeated bouts of exhaustive dynamic contractions; and 4) the increase in muscle carnosine did not improve isometric endurance or 400-m race time.

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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of β-alanine (BA) ingestion on tissue carnosine levels and the impact such changes would have on combat specific activity. Eighteen soldiers (19.9 ± 0.8 year) from an elite combat unit were randomly assigned to either a BA or placebo (PL) group. Before and following a 30-day supplementation period carnosine content of the gastrocnemius muscle and brain was determined by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. During each testing session, participants performed military relevant tasks that included a 2.5 km run, a 1-min sprint, 50-m casualty carry, repeated 30-m sprints with target shooting, and a 2-min serial subtraction test (SST) to assess cognitive function under stressful conditions. A significant elevation (p = 0.048) in muscle carnosine content was noted in BA compared to PL. Changes in muscle carnosine content was correlated to changes in fatigue rate (r = 0.633, p = 0.06). No changes (p = 0.607) were observed in brain carnosine content. Following supplementation, no differences were noted in 2.5 km run, 1-min sprint, repeated sprint, or marksmanship performance, but participants in BA significantly (p = 0.044) improved their time for the 50-m casualty carry and increased their performance (p = 0.022) in the SST compared to PL. In summary, 30-days of BA ingestion can increase muscle carnosine content and improve aspects of military specific performance. Although cognitive performance was significantly greater in participants consuming BA compared to placebo, current study methods were unable to detect any change in brain carnosine levels, thus, the precise mechanism underlying these effects remains elusive.
    Amino Acids 12/2014; 47(3). DOI:10.1007/s00726-014-1896-7 · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    01/2014; 33:123-136.
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    ABSTRACT: β-alanine is a common ingredient in supplements consumed by athletes. Indeed, athletes may believe that the β-alanine induced paresthesia, experienced shortly after ingestion, is associated with its ergogenic effect despite no scientific mechanism supporting this notion. The present study examined changes in cycling performance under conditions of β-alanine induced paresthesia. Eight competitive cyclists (VO2max = 61.8 ± 4.2 mL·kg·min−1) performed three practices, one baseline and four experimental trials. The experimental trials comprised a 1-km cycling time trial under four conditions with varying information (i.e., athlete informed β-alanine or placebo) and supplement content (athlete received β-alanine or placebo) delivered to the cyclist: informed β-alanine/received β-alanine, informed placebo/received β-alanine, informed β-alanine/received placebo and informed placebo/received placebo. Questionnaires were undertaken exploring the cyclists’ experience of the effects of the experimental conditions. A possibly likely increase in mean power was associated with conditions in which β-alanine was administered (±95% CL: 2.2% ± 4.0%), but these results were inconclusive for performance enhancement (p = 0.32, effect size = 0.18, smallest worthwhile change = 56% beneficial). A possibly harmful effect was observed when cyclists were correctly informed that they had ingested a placebo (–1.0% ± 1.9%). Questionnaire data suggested that β-alanine ingestion resulted in evident sensory side effects and six cyclists reported placebo effects. Acute ingestion of β-alanine is not associated with improved 1-km TT performance in competitive cyclists. These findings are in contrast to the athlete’s “belief” as cyclists reported improved energy and the ability to sustain a higher power output under conditions of β-alanine induced paresthesia.
    European Journal of Sport Science 01/2015; Epub. DOI:10.1080/17461391.2015.1005696 · 1.31 Impact Factor


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