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    The effects of β-alanine supplementation on muscle pH and the power-duration relationship during high-intensity exercise

    Black, MI, Jones, AM, Morgan, PT, Bailey, SJ, Fulford, J and Vanhatalo, A (2018) The effects of β-alanine supplementation on muscle pH and the power-duration relationship during high-intensity exercise. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. 111. ISSN 1664-042X

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    Purpose: To investigate the influence of β-alanine (BA) supplementation on muscle carnosine content, muscle pH and the power-duration relationship (i.e., critical power and W'). Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 recreationally-active males (22 ± 3 y, V°O2peak 3.73 ± 0.44 L·min-1) ingested either BA (6.4 g/d for 28 d) or placebo (PL) (6.4 g/d) for 28 d. Subjects completed an incremental test and two 3-min all-out tests separated by 1-min on a cycle ergometer pre- and post-supplementation. Muscle pH was assessed using 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) during incremental (INC KEE) and intermittent knee-extension exercise (INT KEE). Muscle carnosine content was determined using 1H-MRS. Results: There were no differences in the change in muscle carnosine content from pre- to post-intervention (PL: 1 ± 16% vs. BA: -4 ± 25%) or in muscle pH during INC KEE or INT KEE (P > 0.05) between PL and BA, but blood pH (PL: -0.06 ± 0.10 vs. BA: 0.09 ± 0.13) during the incremental test was elevated post-supplementation in the BA group only (P < 0.05). The changes from pre- to post-supplementation in critical power (PL: -8 ± 18 W vs. BA: -6 ± 17 W) and W' (PL: 1.8 ± 3.3 kJ vs. BA: 1.5 ± 1.7 kJ) were not different between groups. No relationships were detected between muscle carnosine content and indices of exercise performance. Conclusions: BA supplementation had no significant effect on muscle carnosine content and no influence on intramuscular pH during incremental or high-intensity intermittent knee-extension exercise. The small increase in blood pH following BA supplementation was not sufficient to significantly alter the power-duration relationship or exercise performance.

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