Effects of β-alanine and sodium bicarbonate supplementation on the estimated energy system contribution during high-intensity intermittent exercise

Abstract

The effects of β-alanine (BA) and sodium bicarbonate (SB) on energy metabolism during work-matched high-intensity exercise and cycling time-trial performance were examined in 71 male cyclists. They were randomised to receive BA + placebo (BA, n = 18), placebo + SB (SB, n = 17), BA + SB (BASB, n = 19), or placebo + placebo (PLA, n = 18). BA was supplemented for 28 days (6.4 g day−1) and SB (0.3 g kg−1) ingested 60 min before exercise on the post-supplementation trial. Dextrose and calcium carbonate were placebos for BA and SB, respectively. Before (PRE) and after (POST) supplementation, participants performed a high-intensity intermittent cycling test (HICT-110%) consisting of four 60-s bouts at 110% of their maximal power output (60-s rest between bouts). The estimated contribution of the energy systems was calculated for each bout in 39 of the participants (BA: n = 9; SB: n = 10; BASB: n = 10, PLA: n = 10). Ten minutes after HICT-110%, cycling performance was determined in a 30-kJ time-trial test in all participants. Both groups receiving SB increased estimated glycolytic contribution in the overall HICT-110%, which approached significance (SB: + 23%, p = 0.068 vs. PRE; BASB: + 18%, p = 0.059 vs. PRE). No effects of supplementation were observed for the estimated oxidative and ATP-PCr systems. Time to complete 30 kJ was not significantly changed by any of the treatments, although a trend toward significance was shown in the BASB group (p = 0.06). We conclude that SB, but not BA, increases the estimated glycolytic contribution to high-intensity intermittent exercise when total work done is controlled and that BA and SB, either alone or in combination, do not improve short-duration cycling time-trial performance.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the Laboratório de Determinantes Energéticos de Desempenho Esportivo (LADESP) for the access to their facilities. We also would like to thank Hamilton Roschel and Manuel Lixandrão for the advice with statistical analysis, Eimear Dolan for the helpful insights for the discussion, and all the volunteers for their participation. Rafael Pires da Silva, Vitor S. Painelli, Bruno Gualano, Bryan Saunders, and Guilherme Artioli have been financially supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP Grants number: 2012/13026-5, 2013/04806-0, 2013/14746-4, 2016/50438-0, and 2014/11948-8). Luana F. de Oliveira has been financially supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). Bruno Gualano has been financially supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (Grant number 150513/2015-1). Bryan Saunders has previously received financial support from Natural Alternatives International (NAI) to undertake a study unrelated to the current one. NAI have not had any input (financial, intellectual, or otherwise) into this study.

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da Silva, R.P., de Oliveira, L.F., Saunders, B. et al. Effects of β-alanine and sodium bicarbonate supplementation on the estimated energy system contribution during high-intensity intermittent exercise. Amino Acids 51, 83–96 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-018-2643-2

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Keywords

  • Metabolism
  • Buffering
  • Performance
  • Acidosis
  • Cycling