Beta-alanine helps seniors stave off fatigue

By Anne Harding

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older people taking a sports nutrition supplement favored by Olympic athletes show substantial increases in their ability to withstand fatigue, new research shows.

“We were surprised that it had this kind of impact,” Dr. Jeffrey R. Stout of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, who led the study, told Reuters Health. “We weren’t sure that this would impact their physical capacity like it did.”

Stout and his colleagues found that men and women given a low dose of beta-alanine for 90 days were able to exercise nearly 30 percent more intensely before becoming fatigued.

Beta-alanine increases the amount of carnosine in the muscles, which is key to helping sustain a neutral pH in muscle tissue. When people exercise to fatigue, the muscles become more and more acidic (lactic acid buildup is a byproduct of this process, but not entirely responsible for it), and carnosine is believed to help buffer against this acidity, allowing people to do more without “feeling the burn.”

Older people tend to have less carnosine in their muscles, Stout explained, largely because they don’t eat as much meat as younger people.

Taking carnosine supplements is useless, Stout said, because the body breaks the protein down immediately. But taking beta alanine, an amino acid that is a component of carnosine, triggers the production of carnosine in muscle tissue, he added.

Stout and his team had previously demonstrated that beta alanine helped young people increase their exercise capacity by 12 percent to 15 percent. In the current study, they recruited 26 men and women, average age about 73, to take 800 mg of beta alanine three times a day or a placebo.

The maker of the supplement, Natural Alternatives International in San Marcos, California, supplied the supplements and placebo but didn’t help pay for the study, according to Stout.

Study participants had their exercise capacity tested on a special exercise bike called an ergometer, and the researchers used electrodes to measure electrical activity in their thigh muscle, which signals acid build-up.

The individuals on placebo showed no increase in their ability to withstand fatigue, but those on beta alanine were able to exercise 28.6 percent more intensely, Stout and his colleagues found. The improvement in exercise capacity was similar to that seen in a previous study in which older people underwent 12 weeks of endurance training.

Study participants didn’t experience any ill effects while taking the supplement, and the dose was lower than the 6.4 grams daily that Stout and his team gave younger adults, the researcher noted.

Stout says he recommends the supplement to everyone he knows who’s over 60. “I know I have my own parents on it,” he said.

“It can’t hurt and it can only help, but elderly folks must be patient,” the researcher added. “It takes a while for the carnosine to increase in the muscle. They probably won’t see any benefit for about 4 weeks.”

Nevertheless, he added, the patients in his study who were taking the supplement did notice a difference in their ability to go about their daily activities, before they or the researchers were aware that they were in the placebo or supplement group.

“Some of the subjects said I don’t care what it is, I want more of it.”

SOURCE: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, November 7, 2008.

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A diet high in carbohydrate instead of protein improves the ability of people with McArdle disease to exercise, results of a small study indicate. McArdle disease is a metabolic muscle disorder. People born with the disease are unable to produce an enzyme called muscle phosphorylase, which is important in producing the

Full Post: High carb diet useful for muscle disorder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The popular antidepressant Lexapro showed promise at easing anxiety symptoms in older adults, but the effect was “modest” and would need to be studied further, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said antidepressants like Lexapro, made by Forest Laboratories Inc and known generically as escitalopram, may be useful as a new

Full Post: Lexapro may ease anxiety in older adults: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You’ve decided to lose weight, and the scale looks kindly upon your efforts. However, how much of that weight loss is muscle, and how much is fat? Some people don’t realize that they’re losing muscle instead of fat. The real question is how do you burn fat, not muscle? Proper Diet If you’re practicing resistance training, you

Full Post: How to Burn Fat - Not Muscle
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In the large Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, participants who took beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, or a combination of supplements had no significant reductions in their risk of cancer. The clinical trial, which involved 7,627 women who were followed for an average of 9.4 years, was conducted by Dr. Jennifer

Full Post: No cancer risk reductions seen with antioxidants
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you’re currently on a fat loss diet, there’s a good chance you’ve given some thought towards purchasing one of the many weight loss supplements that are on the market. There’s also a good chance though that you’ve wondered whether or not these are really worth your money. Here’s which weight loss supplements you should consider as

Full Post: Which Weight Loss Supplements Will Work the Best?

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search