Beta-alanine (BA) supplementation has been shown to delay neuromuscular fatigue as a result of increased muscle carnosine concentrations. Carnosine has also been found in brain and cardiac tissue. The physical working capacity test at heart rate threshold (PWC(HRT)) is a global estimate of the onset of fatigue during exercise, influenced by central and peripheral factors. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 28 days of BA supplementation on the PWC(HRT). Thirty subjects (mean ± SD; age: 21·0 ± 2·1 years; body mass: 72·7 ± 14·5 kg; height: 170·1 ± 7·9 cm) were randomly assigned to BA (n = 15) or placebo (PL, n = 15) groups. Testing included eight to nine total visits: an enrolment day, physical screening, peak oxygen consumption (V(·)O(2peak)) and two PWC(HRT) assessments over 4 days. Significant differences existed between BA and PL for PWC(HRT) (P = 0·001; mean∆: BA∆ = +24·2 watts, PL∆ = +11·2 watts), but not for V(·)O(2peak) (P = 0·222), time to exhaustion (TTE; P = 0·562) or ventilatory threshold (VT; P = 0·134). Results suggest that BA may increase heart rate training threshold. These results, in combination with one previous study reporting a potential effect of BA on HR, suggest that future studies should evaluate both central and peripheral aspects of fatigue with BA intake.
Keywords: aerobic exercise; carnosine; clinical evaluation; ergogenic aid; pH.
© 2013 Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.