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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

A Pilot Study to Examine the Impact of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Anaerobic Exercise Performance in Collegiate Rugby Athletes

Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina—Columbia, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Energy Balance and Body Composition Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO 63301, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(11), 231;
Received: 29 September 2019 / Revised: 30 October 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 7 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition Intervention in Exercise)
Beta-alanine (BA) is a precursor to carnosine which functions as a buffer assisting in the maintenance of intracellular pH during high-intensity efforts. Rugby is a sport characterized by multiple intermittent periods of maximal or near maximal efforts with short periods of rest/active recovery. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the impact of six weeks of beta-alanine supplementation on anaerobic performance measures in collegiate rugby players. Twenty-one male, collegiate rugby players were recruited, while fifteen completed post-testing (Mean ± SD; Age: 21.0 ± 1.8 years, Height: 179 ± 6.3 cm, Body Mass: 91.8 ± 13.3 kg, % Body Fat: 21.3 ± 4.4). Supplementation was randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled manner between 6.4 g/d of beta-alanine and 6.4 g/d of maltodextrin placebo. Body composition, upper and lower-body maximal strength and muscular endurance, intermittent sprint performance, and post-exercise lactate, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion were assessed before and after supplementation. Data were analyzed using a 2 × 2 (group × time) mixed factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures on time. No significant interaction effects were noted for body mass, fat mass, fat-free mass, and percent bodyfat (p > 0.05). No performance effects resulting from beta-alanine supplementation were detected. Results from this initial pilot investigation suggest that BA exerts little to no impact on body composition parameters, muscular strength, muscular endurance, or intermittent sprinting performance. With the limited research exploring the impact of BA in this sporting context, these initial findings offer little support for BA use, but more research is needed to fully understand the potential impact of BA on various aspects of resistance exercise performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: ergogenic aid; high intensity; fatigue; buffering; lactate ergogenic aid; high intensity; fatigue; buffering; lactate
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Smith, C.R.; Harty, P.S.; Stecker, R.A.; Kerksick, C.M. A Pilot Study to Examine the Impact of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Anaerobic Exercise Performance in Collegiate Rugby Athletes. Sports 2019, 7, 231.

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