The Effect of Beta- Alanine Supplementation on Time to Exhaustion in Collegiate Middle Distance Runners.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Mark Northuis and Dr. Maureen Dunn

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Beta-alanine is an amino acid that has been shown to increase muscle carnosine concentrations, resulting in an increased buffer capacity and reduced muscle fatigue. Prior research has suggested that beta-alanine may have ergogenic effects in exercise bouts lasting 1-5 minutes. However, there have been no studies on trained runners who compete in events lasting 1-5 minutes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of beta-alanine supplementation on time to exhaustion in collegiate middle distance track athletes. Seventeen runners performed a treadmill pretest consisting of a VO2 max test followed by 90 seconds of rest and a time to exhaustion test. Participants were matched based on gender, time to exhaustion, running economy, max velocity and VO2 max. Participants were assigned to either a placebo group or a beta-alanine group. The experimental group took 4.5 grams of beta-alanine per day for four weeks. The placebo group ingested sucrose. The runners then participated in their standard training regimen, doing the same number of hard workouts per week and recording their total mileage. At the end of the supplementation period, the participants completed a treadmill posttest following the same protocol as the pretest. Differences in time to exhaustion were compared between the groups. It was hypothesized that beta-alanine supplementation would improve time to exhaustion performance more than the sucrose. Significant results would demonstrate the efficacy of beta-alanine supplementation in trained middle distance runners.

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