Effects of 28 Days of Beta-Alanine and Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation on Muscle Carnosine, Body Composition and Exercise Performance in Recreationally Active Females
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Early research with beta-alanine (beta-ALA) supplementation has shown increases in muscle carnosine as well as improvements in body composition, exercise performance and blood lactate levels. Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been extensively researched for its effects on anaerobic exercise performance. Recently, a new line of studies have examined the combined effects beta-ALA and creatine supplementation on anaerobic exercise performance and lactate threshold. The purpose of the present study is to examine the acute and chronic effects of beta-ALA supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate on body composition, aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance, and muscle carnosine and phosphagen levels in college-aged recreationally active females. Thirty-two females were randomized in a double-blind placebo controlled manner into one of four supplementation groups including beta-ALA only, creatine only, beta-ALA and creatine combined and placebo. Participants supplemented for four weeks and reported for testing at baseline, day 7 and day 28. Testing sessions consisted of a resting muscle biopsy of the vastus lateralis, body composition measurements, a graded exercise test on the cycle ergometer for VO2max and lactate threshold, and multiple Wingate tests for anaerobic exercise performance. Results showed all supplementation strategies increasing muscle carnosine levels over placebo after four weeks, but not between groups. Muscle creatine increased for all groups after four weeks, but not between groups. There were improvements for all groups with body composition after four weeks, despite the present study not including a specific training protocol. There were no group differences observed for aerobic exercise, blood lactate levels, lactate threshold, ventilatory threshold, peak power, mean power, total work or rate of fatigue. There were some trends for anaerobic exercise indicating groups supplementing with creatine may have greater improvements, however, these findings were not statistically significant. The present study failed to show any additive effects of beta-ALA and creatine supplementation for body composition, aerobic exercise, lactate threshold or anaerobic exercise measures. This could be due to the small sample size resulting in low power and effect sizes. Previous research has demonstrated that four weeks of beta-ALA and creatine supplementation was enough time to increase muscle carnosine and phosphagen levels. However, perhaps more time is needed for performance adaptations to occur, especially without the addition of an exercise training component.
Kresta, Julie Yong (2012). Effects of 28 Days of Beta-Alanine and Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation on Muscle Carnosine, Body Composition and Exercise Performance in Recreationally Active Females. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from