Influence of β-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity

Summary.

Muscle carnosine synthesis is limited by the availability of β-alanine. Thirteen male subjects were supplemented with β-alanine (CarnoSyn™) for 4 wks, 8 of these for 10 wks. A biopsy of the vastus lateralis was obtained from 6 of the 8 at 0, 4 and 10 wks. Subjects undertook a cycle capacity test to determine total work done (TWD) at 110% (CCT110%) of their maximum power (Wmax). Twelve matched subjects received a placebo. Eleven of these completed the CCT110% at 0 and 4 wks, and 8, 10 wks. Muscle biopsies were obtained from 5 of the 8 and one additional subject. Muscle carnosine was significantly increased by +58.8% and +80.1% after 4 and 10 wks β-alanine supplementation. Carnosine, initially 1.71 times higher in type IIa fibres, increased equally in both type I and IIa fibres. No increase was seen in control subjects. Taurine was unchanged by 10 wks of supplementation. 4 wks β-alanine supplementation resulted in a significant increase in TWD (+13.0%); with a further +3.2% increase at 10 wks. TWD was unchanged at 4 and 10 wks in the control subjects. The increase in TWD with supplementation followed the increase in muscle carnosine.

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Hill, C., Harris, R., Kim, H. et al. Influence of β-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity. Amino Acids 32, 225–233 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-006-0364-4

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  • Keywords: β-alanine – Muscle – Carnosine – Taurine – Exercise – Cycle performance