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Effect of two β-alanine dosing protocols on muscle carnosine synthesis and washout

Abstract

Carnosine (β-alanyl-l-histidine) is found in high concentrations in skeletal muscle and chronic β-alanine (BA) supplementation can increase carnosine content. This placebo-controlled, double-blind study compared two different 8-week BA dosing regimens on the time course of muscle carnosine loading and 8-week washout, leading to a BA dose–response study with serial muscle carnosine assessments throughout. Thirty-one young males were randomized into three BA dosing groups: (1) high–low: 3.2 g BA/day for 4 weeks, followed by 1.6 g BA/day for 4 weeks; (2) low–low: 1.6 g BA/day for 8 weeks; and (3) placebo. Muscle carnosine in tibialis-anterior (TA) and gastrocnemius (GA) muscles was measured by 1H-MRS at weeks 0, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16. Flushing symptoms and blood clinical chemistry were trivial in all three groups and there were no muscle carnosine changes in the placebo group. During the first 4 weeks, the increase for high–low (TA 2.04 mmol/kgww, GA 1.75 mmol/kgww) was ~twofold greater than low–low (TA 1.12 mmol/kgww, GA 0.80 mmol/kgww). 1.6 g BA/day significantly increased muscle carnosine within 2 weeks and induced continual rises in already augmented muscle carnosine stores (week 4–8, high–low regime). The dose–response showed a carnosine increase of 2.01 mmol/kgww per 100 g of consumed BA, which was only dependent upon the total accumulated BA consumed (within a daily intake range of 1.6–3.2 g BA/day). Washout rates were gradual (0.18 mmol/kgww and 0.43 mmol/kgww/week; ~2%/week). In summary, the absolute increase in muscle carnosine is only dependent upon the total BA consumed and is not dependent upon baseline muscle carnosine, the muscle type, or the daily amount of supplemented BA.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by Nestec Ltd., Vevey, Switzerland and from the Swiss National Science Foundation (#310000-118219). Special acknowledgement go to: Andreas Boss for study support and assistance; Regula Koenig for MR-data analysis assistance; Laurent Parmentier for dermatological tests; Jacques Vuichoud for analytical support in measuring β-alanine in the supplements; Dominik Grathwohl for statistical advice; and Corina Boschat for blinding and preparation of supplements. Some of the authors (TS, JD) are employees of Nestec Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Nestlé Ltd. and provides professional assistance, research, and consulting services for food, dietary, dietetic, and pharmaceutical products of interest to Nestlé Ltd. No other conflicts of interest were reported.

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Correspondence to Trent Stellingwerff.

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Stellingwerff, T., Anwander, H., Egger, A. et al. Effect of two β-alanine dosing protocols on muscle carnosine synthesis and washout. Amino Acids 42, 2461–2472 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-1054-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-1054-4

Keywords

  • β-alanine
  • Carnosine
  • Muscle
  • Synthesis
  • Washout
  • Dose–response