Insulin does not stimulate β-alanine transport into human skeletal muscle

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2020 Apr 1;318(4):C777-C786. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00550.2019. Epub 2020 Feb 26.


To test whether high circulating insulin concentrations influence the transport of β-alanine into skeletal muscle at either saturating or subsaturating β-alanine concentrations, we conducted two experiments whereby β-alanine and insulin concentrations were controlled. In experiment 1, 12 men received supraphysiological amounts of β-alanine intravenously (0.11 g·kg-1·min-1 for 150 min), with or without insulin infusion. β-Alanine and carnosine were measured in muscle before and 30 min after infusion. Blood samples were taken throughout the infusion protocol for plasma insulin and β-alanine analyses. β-Alanine content in 24-h urine was assessed. In experiment 2, six men ingested typical doses of β-alanine (10 mg/kg) before insulin infusion or no infusion. β-Alanine was assessed in muscle before and 120 min following ingestion. In experiment 1, no differences between conditions were shown for plasma β-alanine, muscle β-alanine, muscle carnosine and urinary β-alanine concentrations (all P > 0.05). In experiment 2, no differences between conditions were shown for plasma β-alanine or muscle β-alanine concentrations (all P > 0.05). Hyperinsulinemia did not increase β-alanine uptake by skeletal muscle cells, neither when substrate concentrations exceed the Vmax of β-alanine transporter TauT nor when it was below saturation. These results suggest that increasing insulin concentration is not necessary to maximize β-alanine transport into muscle following β-alanine intake.

Keywords: carnosine; human skeletal muscle; hyperinsulinemia; taurine transporter; β-alanine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Carnosine / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • beta-Alanine / administration & dosage
  • beta-Alanine / blood
  • beta-Alanine / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • beta-Alanine
  • Taurine
  • Carnosine