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SSE #208: An update on beta-alanine supplementation for athletes

Fatigue during high intensity sports or activities (~1-10 minutes in length) is caused by several components with strong evidence that muscle acidosis via accumulating hydrogen ions is a key performance inhibitor.  To address this issue, skeletal muscle has intra and extracellular buffering mechanisms to attenuate exercise induced acidosis.  Carnosine is an intracellular buffer that is key in slowing the decline of muscle pH.  Carnosine has a nitrogen containing imidazole side ring which accepts or buffers hydrogen.  This buffering can contribute as much as 15% of total buffering capacity.  Additionally, carnosine has been shown to be a calcium/hydrogen exchanger, delivering calcium back to the sarcoplasmic reticulum and hydrogen away to the cell membrane.  This suggests that carnosine may increase calcium sensitivity and muscle contraction efficiency.  Plasma beta-alanine is the rate limiting substrate of carnosine.  Approximately 3-6 g/d of beta-alanine supplementation over at least four weeks can elevate muscle carnosine stores by 30-60%.  Several meta-analyses have been conducted and has shown 2-3% increased performance in non-elite athletes, followed with just 0.5-1% increased performance in elite athletes. 

Reference Article

SSE #208: An update on beta-alanine supplementation for athletes

Course Objectives

  • Utilize the information provided in this SSE to determine whether beta-alanine supplementation is right for your athlete and their training needs. 
  • Describe the mechanisms that carnosine buffers hydrogen and exchanges calcium/hydrogen. 
  • Discuss future applied research for beta-alanine and how else beta-alanine can be applied to non-elite and elite athletes.  

Course

Credits

Course Expiration

ACSM

1

06/24/2024

BOC

1

06/23/2024

Commission on Dietetic Registration

1

03/31/2024

CSCCa

1

06/23/2024

Reference Article

https://www.gssiweb.org/docs/default-source/sse-docs/stellingwerff_sse_208_a03.pdf?sfvrsn=2