NUTRITION – BETA-ALANINE – AGING


1 RESEARCH ARTICLE


β-Alanine supplementation increased physical performance and improved executive function following endurance exercise in middle aged individuals – 2018


BACKGROUND
Sarcopenia, a reduction in muscle mass and function seen in aging populations, may be countered by improving systemic carnosine stores via beta-Alanine (β-alanine) supplementation
– Increasing systemic carnosine levels may result in enhanced anti-oxidant, neuro-protective and pH buffering capabilities
– This enhancement should result in improved exercise capacity and executive function
METHODS
– 12 healthy adults (average age = 60.5 ± 8.6 yrs, weight = 81.5 ± 12.6 kg) were given
(1) 2.4 g/d of β-alanine (BA)
(2) or Placebo (PL) for 28 days
– Exercise capacity was tested via bouts on a cycle ergometer at 70% VO2 peak
– Executive function was measured by Stroop Tests 5 min before exercise (T1), immediately before exercise (T2), immediately following fatigue (T3), and 5 min after fatigue (T4)
– Lactate measures were taken pre/post exercise. Heart rate, Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and VO
2 were recorded throughout exercise testing
RESULTS
– PRE average time-to-exhaustion (TTE) for the PL and BA group were not significantly different (Mean ± SD; 9.4 ± 1.4mins vs 11.1 ± 2.4mins, respectively)
– POST BA supplemented subjects cycled significantly longer than PRE (14.6 ± 3.8mins vs 11.1 ± 2.4mins, respectively)
– Those given PL did not (8.7 ± 2.4mins vs 9.4 ± 1.4mins, respectively)
– PL subjects were slower in completing the Stroop test POST at T4 compared to T3 (T3 = − 13.3 ± 8.6% vs T4 = 2.1 ± 8.3%)
– while the BA group (T3 = − 9.2 ± 6.4% vs T4 = − 2.5 ± 3.5%) was not
– POST lactate production expressed a trend when comparing treatments, as the BA group produced 2.4 ± 2.6 mmol/L more lactate than the PL group
– Within group lactate production for BA and PL, RPE and heart rate did not differ with supplementation
CONCLUSION
– BA supplementation increased exercise capacity and eliminated endurance exercise induced declines in executive function seen after recovery
– Increased POST TTE coupled with similar PRE vs POST lactate production indicates an improvement in the ability of BA to extend exercise durations
– Furthermore, by countering endurance exercise’s accompanying deficits in executive function, the aging population can maintain benefits from exercise with improved safety


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