European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 495–503

β-Alanine supplementation reduces acidosis but not oxygen uptake response during high-intensity cycling exercise

  • Audrey Baguet
  • Katrien Koppo
  • Andries Pottier
  • Wim Derave
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-009-1225-0

Cite this article as:
Baguet, A., Koppo, K., Pottier, A. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2010) 108: 495. doi:10.1007/s00421-009-1225-0

Abstract

The oral ingestion of β-alanine, the rate-limiting precursor in carnosine synthesis, has been shown to elevate the muscle carnosine content. Carnosine is thought to act as a physiologically relevant pH buffer during exercise but direct evidence is lacking. Acidosis has been hypothesised to influence oxygen uptake kinetics during high-intensity exercise. The present study aimed to investigate whether oral β-alanine supplementation could reduce acidosis during high-intensity cycling and thereby affect oxygen uptake kinetics. 14 male physical education students participated in this placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Subjects were supplemented orally for 4 weeks with 4.8 g/day placebo or β-alanine. Before and after supplementation, subjects performed a 6-min cycling exercise bout at an intensity of 50% of the difference between ventilatory threshold (VT) and \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}} \). Capillary blood samples were taken for determination of pH, lactate, bicarbonate and base excess, and pulmonary oxygen uptake kinetics were determined with a bi-exponential model fitted to the averaged breath-by-breath data of three repetitions. Exercise-induced acidosis was significantly reduced following β-alanine supplementation compared to placebo, without affecting blood lactate and bicarbonate concentrations. The time delay of the fast component (Td1) of the oxygen uptake kinetics was significantly reduced following β-alanine supplementation compared to placebo, although this did not reduce oxygen deficit. The parameters of the slow component did not differ between groups. These results indicate that chronic β-alanine supplementation, which presumably increased muscle carnosine content, can attenuate the fall in blood pH during high-intensity exercise. This may contribute to the ergogenic effect of the supplement found in some exercise modes.

Keywords

Ergogenic supplements High-intensity cycling Acidosis \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2}\) kinetics 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey Baguet
    • 1
  • Katrien Koppo
    • 1
  • Andries Pottier
    • 1
  • Wim Derave
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Movement and Sports SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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