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Beta Alanine Dietary supplements containing beta-alaninea provide a potential method of increasing the muscle buffering capacity through enhancement of muscle carnosine levels. High intensity exercise results in production of a lot of acid that is a major contributor to fatigue. Most athletes are very familiar with the muscle burn that occurs with performing strenuous exercise. Carnosine is a buffer within muscle that helps to prevent accumulation of acid. Carnosine synthesis in muscle is limited by the availability of beta alanine, and prior research has shown that supplementing with this precursor does in fact increase muscle levels of carnsoine. Although a lot of the preliminary work with beta alanine has been positive, the effects of supplementation during training remain unclear. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have now shed some light on that issue. They studied normally active men who all trained with high intensity exercise for 3 weeks. One group supplemented with beta alanine (6 g/day) for 1 week followed by a lower dose (3 g/day) for the next 2 weeks. The other group consumed a placebo. The training program involved cycling sprints performed intermittently 3 times per week. After just 3 weeks, the beta alanine group showed a significant increase in lean body mass (1.8 pounds) compared to placebo (0.7 pounds). Beta alanine also increased peak oxygen consumption and the total amount of work during a cycling test to exhaustion. The most likely mechanism to explain the improved performance with beta alanine supplementation is enhanced buffering capacity in muscle. These findings indicate that beta alanine supplementation may augment adaptations to high intensity training including gains in lead body mass and performance.

Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5.