Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) is a dipeptide (protein with two amino acids) and “an efficient hydrogen ion (H+) buffer.” Carnosine prevents intracellular acidosis and maintains normal muscle cell pH during heavy exercise by buffering action. Carnosine is in type I and II muscle fibers, especially in type II muscle fibers. Carnosine can be eaten in meat. The levels of beta-alanine in meat vary. Beta-alanine supplementation is known to improve the performance of exercise and reduce fatigue.
The loss of skeletal muscle carnosine seen with aging is believed to cause the increased fatigue seen in the elderly. Normally, carnosine levels drop after the age of 50.
This study was done to check the effect on fatigue of 90 days supplementation with beta-alanine. Twenty-six people between ages 55 and 92 were studied. (Treatment with beta-alanine has been shown to increase muscle levels of carnosine.) This study was double-blinded with some people receiving placebo. The dose of beta-alanine was 800 mg. three times a day.
The study showed that the people who received beta-alanine had significantly increased work capacity due to a delay in the onset of fatigue when compared to people who received placebo. The ability of the muscles to resist fatigue was tested by electromyography. There was a 28.5% increase in work capacity after 90 days of beta-alanine supplementation.
Beta-alanine supplementation could be very beneficial. Reduced fatigue of muscles reduces injuries in the elderly. Fewer injuries mean fewer deaths from accidents.
CONCLUSION: Beta-alanine supplementation improves intracellular pH control and improves muscle endurance in older men and women. Improved endurance helps aging citizens be independent.
NOTE: CoQ-10 increases muscle strength in the elderly, also.
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