Intense exercise results in an accumulation of hydrogen ion and a metabolic state of acidosis that results in fatigue. Substances that can buffer the increase in hydrogen ions during exercise can therefore be beneficial for reducing metabolic stress and possibly enhance recovery. Typical buffers are bicarbonate based, but Japanese researchers examined the potential of two novel buffers carnosine and anserine. The study used a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled design. Healthy men performed an intense intermittent bout of exercise (10 sets of 5-sec maximal cycle sprints with 25 sec recovery between sprints) on two occasions separated by 3 days. Thirty minutes prior to exercise, they consumed an extract containing 0.4 g carnosine and 1.1 g anserine or a placebo. Blood was measured to determine the level of bicarbonate buffering and blood acidity. Supplementation with the buffers resulted in a better maintenance of blood pH and elevated bicarbonate levels, indicating improved buffering capacity in the circulation. Longer supplementation period may enhance buffering in skeletal muscle and performance, similar to preliminary results with the carnosine precursor beta-alanine.
Pinkoski C, Chilibeck PD, Candow DG, Esliger D, Ewaschuk JB, Facci M, Farthing JP, Zello GA. The effects of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation during resistance training. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2006 Feb; 38(2):339-48.