Objectives: Two independent studies were conducted to examine the effects of 28 d of beta-alanine supplementation at 6.4 g d(-1) on brain homocarnosine/carnosine signal in omnivores and vegetarians (Study 1) and on cognitive function before and after exercise in trained cyclists (Study 2).
Methods: In Study 1, seven healthy vegetarians (3 women and 4 men) and seven age- and sex-matched omnivores undertook a brain 1H-MRS exam at baseline and after beta-alanine supplementation. In study 2, nineteen trained male cyclists completed four 20-Km cycling time trials (two pre supplementation and two post supplementation), with a battery of cognitive function tests (Stroop test, Sternberg paradigm, Rapid Visual Information Processing task) being performed before and after exercise on each occasion.
Results: In Study 1, there were no within-group effects of beta-alanine supplementation on brain homocarnosine/carnosine signal in either vegetarians (p = 0.99) or omnivores (p = 0.27); nor was there any effect when data from both groups were pooled (p = 0.19). Similarly, there was no group by time interaction for brain homocarnosine/carnosine signal (p = 0.27). In study 2, exercise improved cognitive function across all tests (P < 0.05), although there was no effect (P>0.05) of beta-alanine supplementation on response times or accuracy for the Stroop test, Sternberg paradigm or RVIP task at rest or after exercise.
Conclusion: 28 d of beta-alanine supplementation at 6.4 g d(-1) appeared not to influence brain homocarnosine/carnosine signal in either omnivores or vegetarians; nor did it influence cognitive function before or after exercise in trained cyclists.