Beta-Alanine Supplements Increase Performance During Repeated Plyometrics

Fatigue during high-intensity exercise is linked to acid buildup that interferes with chemical reactions necessary to continue exercise. Blood and muscles contain chemicals that buffer acids and prevent fatigue. Bicarbonate and alanine are two important buffers. Alanine is an amino acid that provides energy during exercise and prevents neuromuscular fatigue by increasing tissue carnosine levels. Carnosine is an important antioxidant that protects cells from destruction and buffers acids that cause fatigue. Alanine also helps supply energy during exercise. It is converted to blood sugar in the liver by a process called the glucose-alanine cycle. While alanine is not used to synthesize muscle tissue or enzymes, it influences exercise capacity— particularly endurance performance. A study from Belgium found that supplementing beta-alanine (4.0 to 5.6 grams per day) for eight weeks improved performance of repeated squat jumps and counter-movement jumps by six to eight percent, compared to a placebo (fake alanine). Beta-alanine caused a small improvement in repeated explosive power plyometrics. (Amino Acids, published online April 18, 2015)

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