The effect of ß-alanine on buffering capacity and exercise performance during and following high-intensity exercise in healthy males
Danaher, J., Gerber, T., Wellard, R. M., Hayes, A., Bishop, D., & Satathis, C. G. (2012) The effect of ß-alanine on buffering capacity and exercise performance during and following high-intensity exercise in healthy males. In Proceedings of 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Bruges, Belgium.
Introduction Intense exercise induced acidosis occurs from the accumulation of hydrogen ions as by-products of anaerobic metabolism. Oral ingestion of ß-alanine, a limiting precursor of the intracellular physiochemical buffer carnosine in skeletal muscle, may counteract any detrimental effect of acidosis and benefit performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ß-alanine as an ergogenic aid during high intensity exercise performance in healthy males.
Methods Five males ingested either ß-alanine (BAl) (4.8 g.d-1 for 4wk, then 6.4 g.d-1 for 2wk) or placebo (Pl) (CaCO3) in a crossover design with 6 wk washout between. Following supplementation, participants performed two different intense exercise protocols over consecutive days. On the first day a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test of 5 x 6s, with 24s rest periods, was performed. On the second day a cycling capacity test measuring the time to exhaustion (TTE) was performed at 110% of their max workload achieved in a pre supplementation max test (CCT110%). Non-invasive quantification of carnosine, prior to, and following each supplementation, with magnetic resonance spectrometry was performed in the soleus and gastrocnemius. Time to fatigue (CCT110%), peak and mean power (RSA), blood pH, and plasma lactate were measured.
Results Muscle carnosine concentration was not different prior to ß-alanine supplementation and increased 18% in the soleus and 26% in the gastrocnemius, respectively with 6 wk supplementation. There was no difference in the measured performance variables during the RSA test (peak and average power output). TTE during the CCT110% was significantly enhanced following the ingestion of BAl (155s ± 19.03) compared to Pl (134s ± 26.16). No changes were observed in blood pH during either exercise protocol and during the recovery from exercise. Plasma lactate in the BAl condition was significantly higher than Pl only from the 15th minute following exercise during the CCT110%. FIG. 1: Changes in carnosine concentration in the gastrocnemius prior and post 6 week chronic supplementation of placebo and β-alanine. Values expressed as mean.* p<0.05 from Pl at 6 weeks, # p<0.05 from pre supplementation.
Conclusion/Discussion Greater muscle carnosine content following 6wk supplementation of ß-alanine enhanced the potential for intracellular buffering capacity. However, this only translated into enhanced performance during the CCT110% high intensity cycling exercise protocol, with no change observed during the RSA test. No differences in post exercise and recovery plasma lactates and blood pH, indicates that 6wks ß-alanine supplementation has no effect on anaerobic metabolism during multiple bout high intensity exercise. Changes in plasma lactate during recovery supports that ß-alanine supplementation may affect anaerobic metabolism however during single bout high intensity.
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