Beta-alanine (BA), a dietary supplement widely used by athletes and body builders, has been proven to increase the fitness levels of a group of elderly men and women. The research, published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, suggests that BA supplementation improves muscle endurance in the elderly.
The research was carried out by Jeffrey Stout, PhD from the University of Oklahoma, USA, and a team of colleagues. According to Dr. Stout, "This could have importance in the prevention of falls, and the maintenance of health and independent living in elderly men and women."
BA is an amino acid that, together with histidine, forms the dipeptide carnosine. Carnosine is found in muscle tissue and makes an important contribution to the maintenance of intracellular pH, which is vital for normal muscle function during intense exercise. An increased intake of BA significantly raises muscle carnosine levels.
In this double-blind, randomized controlled trial, 26 elderly men and women were given a 90-day course of BA supplementation or placebo pills. Their fitness levels were tested before and after the course. In the treatment group, 67% of the subjects showed an improvement in their fitness levels, compared to 21.5% of the people receiving the placebo treatment.
The researchers write, "Our data suggest that 90 days of BA supplementation increases physical working capacity in elderly men and women. These findings are clinically significant, as a decrease in functional capacity to perform daily living tasks has been associated with an increase in mortality, primarily due to increased risk of falls."
Notes to Editors
1. The effect of beta-alanine supplementation on neuromuscular fatigue in elderly (55-92 Years): a double-blind randomized study
Jeffrey R. Stout, B SUE Graves, Abbie E Smith, Michael J Hartman, Joel T Cramer, Travis W Beck and Roger C Harris
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (in press)
During embargo, article available here: http://www.jissn.com/imedia/3329546222303903_article.pdf?random=19492
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.jissn.com/
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of publication
2. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN) is a peer-reviewed journal that covers various aspects of sports nutrition, supplementation, exercise metabolism, and/or scientific policies related to sports nutrition. The journal is designed to keep members of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and the public up to date on the latest advances in sport nutrition.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.