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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Dec 18;15(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0266-3.

The effect of two β-alanine dosing strategies on 30-minute rowing performance: a randomized, controlled trial.

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Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK.
College of Health Care Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, Florida, USA.
Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK.



β-alanine (βA) supplementation has been shown to increase intramuscular carnosine content and subsequent high-intensity performance in events lasting < 4 minutes (min), which may be dependent on total, as opposed to daily, dose. The ergogenic effect of βA has also been demonstrated for 2000-m rowing performance prompting interest in whether βA may be beneficial for sustained aerobic exercise. This study therefore investigated the effect of two βA dosing strategies on 30-min rowing and subsequent sprint performance.


Following University Ethics approval, twenty-seven healthy, male rowers (age: 24 ± 2 years; body-height: 1.81 ± 0.02 m; body-mass: 82.3 ± 2.5 kg; body-fat: 14.2 ± 1.0%) were randomised in a double-blind manner to 4 weeks of: i) βA (2.4 g·d- 1, βA1); ii) matched total βA (4.8 g on alternate days, βA2); or iii) cornflour placebo (2.4 g·d- 1, PL). Participants completed a laboratory 30-min rowing time-trial, followed by 3x30-seconds (s) maximal sprint efforts at days 0, 14 and 28 (T1-T3). Total distance (m), average power (W), relative average power (W·kg- 1), cardio-respiratory measures and perceived exertion were assessed for each 10-min split. Blood lactate ([La-]b mmol·L- 1) was monitored pre-post time-trial and following maximal sprint efforts. A 3-way repeated measures ANOVA was employed for main analyses, with Bonferonni post-hoc assessment (P ≤ 0.05).


Total 30-min time-trial distance significantly increased from T1-T3 within βA1 only (7397 ± 195 m to 7580 ± 171 m, P = 0.002, ƞp2 = 0.196), including absolute average power (194.8 ± 18.3 W to 204.2 ± 15.5 W, P = 0.04, ƞp2 = 0.115) and relative average power output (2.28 ± 0.15 W·kg- 1 to 2.41 ± 0.12 W·kg- 1, P = 0.031, ƞp2 = 0.122). These findings were potentially explained by within-group significance for the same variables for the first 10 min split (P ≤ 0.01), and for distance covered (P = 0.01) in the second 10-min split. However, no condition x time interactions were observed. No significant effects were found for sprint variables (P > 0.05) with comparable values at T3 for mean distance (βA1: 163.9 ± 3.8 m; βA2: 161.2 ± 3.5 m; PL: 162.7 ± 3.6 m), average power (βA1: 352.7 ± 14.5 W; βA2: 342.2 ± 13.5 W; PL: 348.2 ± 13.9 W) and lactate (βA1: 10.0 ± 0.9 mmol·L- 1; βA2: 9.2 ± 1.1 mmol·L- 1; PL: 8.7 ± 0.9 mmol·L- 1).


Whilst daily βA may confer individual benefits, these results demonstrate limited impact of βA (irrespective of dosing strategy) on 30-min rowing or subsequent sprint performance. Further investigation of βA dosage > 2.4 g·d- 1 and/or chronic intervention periods (> 4-8 weeks) may be warranted based on within-group observations.


Beta-alanine; Endurance; Exercise performance; Nutrition; Rowing

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