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Open Access Research article

β-alanine supplementation improves YoYo intermittent recovery test performance

Bryan Saunders1, Caroline Sunderland1*, Roger C Harris2 and Craig Sale1

Author Affiliations

1 Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS, UK

2 Junipa Ltd, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:39  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-39

Published: 28 August 2012

Abstract

Background

β-alanine supplementation has been shown to improve high-intensity exercise performance and capacity. However, the effects on intermittent exercise are less clear, with no effect shown on repeated sprint activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-alanine supplementation on YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 (YoYo IR2) performance.

Methods

Seventeen amateur footballers were allocated to either a placebo (PLA; N = 8) or β-alanine (BA; N = 9) supplementation group, and performed the YoYo IR2 on two separate occasions, pre and post 12 weeks of supplementation during a competitive season. Specifically, players were supplemented from early to mid-season (PLA: N = 5; BA: N = 6) or mid- to the end of the season (PLA: N = 3; BA: N = 3). Data were analysed using a two factor ANOVA with Tukey post-hoc analyses.

Results

Pre supplementation scores were 1185 ± 216 and 1093 ± 148 m for PLA and BA, with no differences between groups (P = 0.41). YoYo performance was significantly improved for BA (+34.3%, P ≤ 0.001) but not PLA (−7.3%, P = 0.24) following supplementation. 2 of 8 (Early – Mid: 2 of 5; Mid – End: 0 of 3) players improved their YoYo scores in PLA (Range: -37.5 to + 14.7%) and 8 of 9 (Early – Mid: 6 of 6; Mid – End: 2 of 3) improved for BA (Range: +0.0 to +72.7%).

Conclusions

12 weeks of β-alanine supplementation improved YoYo IR2 performance, likely due to an increased muscle buffering capacity resulting in an attenuation of the reduction in intracellular pH during high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Keywords:
β-alanine; Carnosine; YoYo Intermittent recovery test; Repeated sprint activity; Team sport specific exercise capacity