Beta-Alanine has grown very popular as a sports supplement, and has been shown to be an effective ergogenic aid. Beta-Alanine has been assumed to work by boosting muscle carnosine content. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology looked at the effects of beta-alanine on acidosis (the fall in blood pH associated with intense exercise) during exercise, rather than its effects on exercise capacity.
14 male subjects participated in the study. For 4 weeks the subjects consumed about 5g beta-alanine daily or a placebo supplement. Before and after the 4 weeks of supplementation, the subjects performed 6 minutes of high intensity cycling.
The researchers found that supplementation with beta-alanine significantly decreased acidosis, while levels of blood lactate and bicarbonate were unchanged. These results are significant because they give evidence that beta-alanine does indeed boost muscle carnbosine content, and by doing so it reduces the acidosis acidosis associated with intense exercise. This is most likely the main or only mechanism by which beta-alanine is able to delay fatigue and improve endurance during intense exercise, as it has been shown to do in multipe studies.
Baguet A, Koppo K, Pottier A, & Derave W. (2010). Beta-alanine supplementation reduces acidosis but not oxygen uptake response during high-intensity cycling exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 108(3), 495-503.
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