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β-Alanine supplementation and military performance

August 31, 2017

An article published in the scientific journal Amino Acids shows an interesting review about the effects of β-Alanine supplementation related to military performance.

During prolonged high-intensity military training or simulated combat exercises, significant decreases in physical and cognitive performance measures have been reported.

To compensate for the physiological and psychological fatigue associated with military training and combat, a number of pharmacological interventions have been examined.

However, recently several members of the US Army Medical Corps have expressed a need to examine non-pharmacological alternatives, like the nutritional supplements, to counteract the fatigue associated with military combat.

Fifty-three percent of the American soldiers at various military installations around the world indicated that they used nutritional supplements on a regular basis.

These supplements may also have an important role during sustained combat scenarios where high intensity and prolonged activity can often impair the physical capability of the operator.

The aim of β-alanine supplementation is to increase the carnosine content in skeletal muscle and through this also the intracellular buffering capacity, enabling a greater tolerance of sustained anaerobic activity (high intensity, short duration activities).

The authors describe an investigation that revealed that 4 weeks of β-alanine supplementation was effective in maintaining lower body power and psychomotor performance. Peak jump power, target engagement speed, and shooting accuracy were significantly improved with the β-alanine supplementation.

Results of this investigation conducted on both competitive and tactical (i.e., soldiers) athletes provide strong evidence that β-alanine supplementation improves performance during sustained, high-intensity activity and would likely benefit soldier performance during training and in specific combat scenarios and sustained operations.

Reference

  β-Alanine supplementation and military performance- Amino Acids. 2015; 47(12): 2463–2474

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