Randomized controlled trial
Author information dept. of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent Univ., Watersportlaan 2, B- 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Baguet A, Bourgois J, Vanhee L, Achten E, Derave W.
It remains to be determined whether carnosine loading can improve single competition-like events in elite athletes. The aims of the present study were to investigate if performance is related to the muscle carnosine content and if β-alanine supplementation improves performance in highly trained rowers.
Eighteen Belgian (N) elite rowers were supplemented for 7 weeks with either a placebo or beta-alanine (5 g/day). Before and following supplementation, muscle carnosine content in soleus and gastrocnemius medialis was measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) and the performance was evaluated in a 2,000-m ergometer test.
At baseline, there was a strong positive correlation between 100-, 500-, 2,000-, and 6,000-m speed and muscle carnosine content. After -alanine supplementation, the carnosine content increased by 45.3% in soleus and 28.2% in gastrocnemius. Following supplementation, the -alanine group was 4.3 s faster than the placebo group, whereas before supplementation they were 0.3 s slower (P = 0.07). Muscle carnosine elevation was positively correlated to 2,000-m performance enhancement (P = 0.042 and r = 0.498).
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