The effect of 4 weeks beta-alanine supplementation and isokinetic training on carnosine concentrations in type I and II human skeletal muscle fibres

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 May;106(1):131-8. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-0998-5. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


Seven male students were supplemented with beta-alanine (beta-ALG) for 4 weeks (6.4 g day(-1)) and seven with a matching placebo (PLG). Subjects undertook 4 weeks of isokinetic training with the right leg (T) whilst the left leg was untrained (UT), serving as a control. Each training session consisted of 10 x 10 maximal 90 degrees extension and flexion contractions at 180 degrees /s using a Kin-Com isokinetic dynamometer, with 1 min rest between bouts. Muscle biopsies were taken from the vastus lateralis immediately before and at the end of the supplementation period. Following freeze drying muscle fibres were dissected and characterised by their MHC profile, as type I, IIa, IIx, or as hybrids of these. Carnosine was measured by HPLC. There was a significant increase in carnosine in both T and UT legs of the beta-ALG (9.63 +/- 3.92 mmol kg(-1) dry muscle and 6.55 +/- 2.36 mmol kg(-1) dry muscle respectively). There was a significant increase in the carnosine content of all fibre phentotypes, with no significant difference between types. There were no significant differences in the changes in muscle or in fibres between the T and UT legs. In contrast there was no significant change in the carnosine content in either the T or UT legs with placebo. The results indicate that 4 weeks training has no effect on the muscle carnosine content. Whilst an increase was seen with beta-alanine supplementation, this was not further influenced by training. These findings suggest that beta-alanine availability is the main factor regulating muscle carnosine synthesis.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carnosine / analysis
  • Carnosine / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Placebos
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Alanine / administration & dosage
  • beta-Alanine / pharmacology*


  • Placebos
  • beta-Alanine
  • Carnosine