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Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:61-71. doi: 10.1159/000350258. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Effect of β-alanine supplementation on high-intensity exercise performance.

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Junipa Ltd., Newmarket, UK.


Carnosine is a dipeptide of β-alanine and L-histidine found in high concentrations in skeletal muscle. Combined with β-alanine, the pKa of the histidine imidazole ring is raised to ∼6.8, placing it within the muscle intracellular pH high-intensity exercise transit range. Combination with β-alanine renders the dipeptide inert to intracellular enzymic hydrolysis and blocks the histidinyl residue from participation in proteogenesis, thus making it an ideal, stable intracellular buffer. For vegetarians, synthesis is limited by β-alanine availability; for meat-eaters, hepatic synthesis is supplemented with β-alanine from the hydrolysis of dietary carnosine. Direct oral β-alanine supplementation will compensate for low meat and fish intake, significantly raising the muscle carnosine concentration. This is best achieved with a sustained-release formulation of β-alanine to avoid paresthesia symptoms and decreasing urinary spillover. In humans, increased levels of carnosine through β-alanine supplementation have been shown to increase exercise capacity and performance of several types, particularly where the high-intensity exercise range is 1-4 min. β-Alanine supplementation is used by athletes competing in high-intensity track and field cycling, rowing, swimming events and other competitions.

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