Effects of metabolic ergogenic agents on sprinters’ anaerobic performance rated by kinetic criteria

Dr.Biol., Professor R.V. Tambovtseva1
PhD, Associate Professor J.L. Voytenko1
E.V. Pletneva1
1Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE), Moscow

Keywords: amino acid, beta alanine, anaerobic performance, bionenergy, muscular activity, maximal alactate work efficiency, lactate glycolytic capacity.

        Introduction. Nowadays, the use of ergogenic means and methods to improve athletic performance and recovery after physical loads is gaining more and more importance in the sports practice [1-3]. When assessing the ergogenic effects of the drugs used, one should, first of all, understand and take into account their effect on the key metabolic mechanisms, in particular on the anaerobic alactic, anaerobic glycolytic and aerobic mechanisms of energy supply, as well as identify their effects in terms of power, capacity and efficiency. In this view, the most topical area of research is the effect of the natural amino acid - beta-alanine, on anaerobic energy supply during physical activity. To date, there is a sufficient number of papers on the impact of β-alanine on athletes’ working capacity [4-7]. However, these results are rather controversial and are often associated with dosing. It is believed that the use of this metabolite is effective when working in the anaerobic power zone and is better used by athletes involved in strength sports [4, 5]. For other sports, such as track and field athletics, administration of this drug is deemed ineffective. In human body, β-alanine is formed in the process of degradation of dihydrouracil and carnosine, and forms part of the natural proteins - carnosine and anserine. Carnosine is an important buffer in the muscle tissue that prevents acidification during intense exercises. In addition, this metabolite constitutes a part of pantothenic acid, being a part of coenzyme A, and is metabolized to acetic acid.

Objective of the study was to test benefits of natural beta alanine amino acid administration on the highly skilled sprinters’ anaerobic performance.    

Methods and structure of the study. The model testing experiment run at the Muscular Activity Bioenergy Laboratory of the N.I. Volkov Sports Biochemistry and Bioenergy Department. Tests and experiments under the study were performed at no risk for the people’s health in compliance with the relevant ethical and humanity provisions of the 2000 Helsinki Declaration and the EU Directive 86/609. Sampled for the study were highly skilled sprinters (n=22) split up into the Experimental (EG, n=10) and Reference (RG, n=12) Groups. The subjects gave their informed consents on the experiment. The Experimental Group administered 6g of β-alanine per day for 14 days; and the Reference Group administered placebo (microcrystal cellulose). The anaerobic performance of the athletes was rated by the following standard tests: maximal anaerobic efficiency test by cycle ergometer Е894 (made by Monarch company); and Wingate test of the lactate glycolytic capacity rated by the lactic acid concentration in blood in the quiescent state and after training. The data obtained were statistically processed using the STATISTICA 6.0 software toolkit and built-in analysis functionality of Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Results and discussion. Table 1 presents the dynamics of the maximal anaerobic efficiency in the EG subjects administering β-alanine.

Table 1. Dynamics of changes in anaerobic performance rates of EG athletes taking beta-alanine (n=10) in MAE test

Indicators

Before administration

After administration

Δ

%

1

Wp, avg/М (W/kg)

12.57 ± 0.61

12.43 ± 0.69

-0.14

1.1

2

tr (sec)

4.07 ± 0.48

3.86 ± 0.64

-0.21

5.4

3

tm (sec)

4.0 ± 0.5

3.9 ± 0.7

-0.1

2.6

4

Acceleration rate

0.89 + 0.13

1.16 + 0.18*

0.27

23.3

5

Fatigue tolerance rate

0.062 + 0.005

0.046 + 0.007

- 0.016

34.8

6

Al/P (J/kg)

103.58 ± 4.57

101.28 ± 5.32

-2.3

2.3

7

Lactate, mmol/l

10.5 + 1.91

11.12 + 0.7

0.6

5.4

 

There was a slight decrease in all maximal anaerobic efficiency test rates. It should be noted that the time to reach the maximum power (tr, sec) decreased as well - by 0.21 sec (5.4%), which could, apparently, be associated with a positive trend in the development of speed-strength abilities, on the one hand. On the other hand, this change was insignificant and, possibly, determined by the adaptation to the test and its more accurate execution. Meanwhile, upon administration of beta-alanine, there was a significant increase in the acceleration rate and a decrease in the fatigue tolerance rate.

No effect of beta-alanine on maximal anaerobic efficiency was confirmed by the similar data (Table 2) obtained in the RG taking placebo.

Table 2. Dynamics of changes in anaerobic performance rates of RG athletes taking placebo (n=12) in the maximal anaerobic efficiency test

Indicators

Before administration

After administration

Δ

%

1

Wp, avg/P (W/kg)

11.19 ± 0.67

10.95 ± 0.76

-0.24

2.2

2

tr (sec)

4.16 ± 0.44

3.78 ± 0.48

-0.38

10.1

3

tm (sec)

4.41 ± 0.72

5.13 ± 0.5

0.7

13.7

4

Acceleration rate

0.77 + 0.08

0.91 + 0.09

0.14

15.4

5

Fatigue tolerance rate

0.066 + 0.007

0.076 + 0.03

0.01

13.2

6

Al/P (J/kg)

93.12 ± 4.54

95.14 ± 5.91

2.02

2.1

7

Lactate, mmol/l

14.9 + 1.42

14.65 + 0.92

-0.3

2.1

 

In the RG, due to lower power (Wp, avg/P, W/kg), the power retention time - from 90% of the maximum power (tr, sec) was maintained longer as compared to the EG, and upon taking placebo increased against the background of decreasing alactic power; however, all registered indicators tended to change insignificantly. After taking placebo, there was a tendency towards an increase in the acceleration and fatigue tolerance rates.

In the maximal anaerobic efficiency test, the dynamics of lactic acid levels were significantly lower in the group athletes administrating beta-alanine for 14 days as opposed to the group of those taking placebo. Before and after beta-alanine and placebo intake, there was no statistically significant changes on average.

The lactate glycolytic capacity rates during beta-alanine and placebo administration are presented in Tables 3 and 4.

The analysis of the data obtained revealed no statistically significant differences between the groups before the experiment in terms of the main indicator - relative maximum power (Wp, avg/P, W/kg) and total work performed during the test (Al/P, J/kg). After the experiment, these two indicators were characterized by significant changes between the groups.

Table 3. Dynamics of changes in anaerobic performance rates of EG athletes taking beta-alanine (n=10) in Wingate-test

Indicators

Before administration

After administration

Δ

%

1

Wp, avg/P (W/kg)

11.0±0.61

11.62±0.41×

0.61

5.2

2

tr (sec)

3.45±0.68

2.53±0.19

-0.92

26.7*

3

tm (sec)

4.0±0.5

3.90±0.7

-0.1

2.6

4

Acceleration rate

0.89 + 0.13

1.16 + 0.18

0.27

23.3

5

Fatigue tolerance rate

0.024 + 0.003

0.023 + 0.001

-0.001

4.3

6

Al/P (J/kg)

220.7±10.8

224.0±10.8×

3.25

1.5

7

Lactate, mmol/l

10.5 ± 1.9

9.6±0.1

-0.4

4.2

 

Note: * – significance of differences before and after the experiment (at р<0.05), × – significance of differences between the EG and RG (at р<0.05).

It is characteristic that there was a significant change in the lactate glycolytic capacity manifestation, when the time to reach the maximum power decreased by 0.92 sec, that is, by 26.7%.

In the EG taking beta-alanine, the total work performed had a tendency to increase, and overall the lactate glycolytic capacity rate increased as well. At the same time, the fatigue tolerance rate slightly changed, though still tended to decrease. The concentration of lactic acid in the Wingate-test with the use of beta-alanine reduced on average.

Table 4. Dynamics of changes in anaerobic performance rates of RG athletes taking placebo (n=12) in Wingate-test

Indicators

Before administration

After administration

Δ

%

1

Wp, avg/P (W/kg)

10.55±0.64

10.05±0.69×

-0.5

5.0

2

tr (sec)

3.06±0.27

2.51±0.22

-0.55

18.0

3

tm (sec)

3.6±0.1

3.6±0.2

0

0.0

4

Acceleration rate

2.10 + 0.3

2.80 + 0.4

0.7

25.0

5

Fatigue tolerance rate

0.066 + 0.007

0.076 + 0.03

0.01

13.2

6

Al/P (J/kg)

201.6±13.2

195.4±12.7×

-6.2

3.2

7

Lactate, mmol/l

10±0.2

11.1 ± 0.7

0.6

5.4

 

The analysis of the mean values obtained in the RG after the placebo administration course revealed no statistically significant changes. While during its administration, the RG athletes were found to have an increase in their acceleration rate, fatigue tolerance rate and lactic acid level.

Therefore, the use of beta-alanine had an overall positive effect on the kinetic indices of anaerobic performance. In particular, the moment of onset of fatigue was postponed significantly and there was an increase of performance results in the anaerobic power zone. Beta-alanine intake significantly increased the concentration of carnosine in the muscle tissues and, apparently, indirectly promoted the muscular growth and improved its buffering properties.

Conclusions. The use of beta-alanine during physical loads in the maximal anaerobic efficiency and Wingate-tests showed that the drug administration has almost no effect on the performance results when exercising in the maximum anaerobic power zone, but at the same time the lactate glycolytic capacity rate increases. The test data also showed benefits of the beta-alanine administration course as verified by the progress in the total work performed. During intense work, the fatigue tolerance rate decreases, which suggests that this drug postpones the onset of neuromuscular fatigue, possibly due to more rapid diffusion of lactic acid into the bloodstream.

References

  1. Volkov N.I., Voytenko Y.L., Tambovtseva R.V. Problemy ergogennykh sredstv i metodov trenirovki v teorii i praktike sporta vysshikh dostizheniy [Problems of ergogenous methods and techniques of training in theory and practice of elite sport]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2013, no. 8, pp. 68-72
  2. Tambovtseva R.V. Ergogenicheskie sredstva i metody povysheniya sportivnoy rabotosposobnosti [Ergogenic means and methods to improve athletic performance]. Study guide. Moscow: TVT Divizion, 2018,290 p.
  3. Tambovtseva R.V., Zhumaev O.S. Ispolzovanie pischevyih dobavok na osnove substratov energeticheskogo obmena s tselyu povysheniya fizicheskoy rabotosposobnosti [Nutritional supplements based on substrates of energy metabolism to increase physical performance]. «Fizicheskaya kultura i sport v postindustrialnuyu epohu: problemy i puti ikh resheniya [Physical education and sports in the post-industrial era: problems and solutions]. Proc. intern. res.-pract. conf.. Pushkin, 2017, pp. 151-155.
  4. Harris R.C., Hill C., Wise J.A. Effect of combined beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exers., 2003. V 35. N. 5. P. 218.
  5. Hoffman J.R., Ratamess N.A., Ross R. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2008. V 29. N 12, pp. 952-958.
  6. Hoffman J.R. et al. b-alanine supplementation improves tactical performance but not cognitive function in combat soldiers. Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2014, v.11, N.1.  P. 15.
  7. Mannion A.F., Jakerman P.M., Dunnett M. et al. Carnosine and anserine concentrations in the quadriceps femoris muscle of healthy humans. Eur.Appl, Physiol. 1992. V 64. pp. 47-50.

Corresponding author: ritta7@mail.ru

Abstract

Objective of the study was to test benefits of natural beta alanine amino acid administration on the highly skilled sprinters’ anaerobic performance, with the model testing experiment run at the Muscular Activity Bioenergy Laboratory of the N.I. Volkov Sports Biochemistry and Bioenergy Department. Sampled for the study were highly skilled sprinters (n=22) split up into Experimental (EG, n=10) and Reference (RG, n=12) Groups. The Experimental Group administered 6g of beta alanine per day for 14 days; and the Reference Group administered placebo (microcrystal cellulose). The anaerobic work efficiency was rated by the following standard tests: maximal anaerobic efficiency (MAE) test by cycle ergometer Е894 (made by Monarch company); and Wingate test of the lactate glycolytic capacity rated by the lactic acid concentration in blood in the quiescent state and after training.

The test data showed benefits of the beta-alanine administration course as verified by the Experimental Group progress in the maximal work and fatigue tolerance rates. The finding gives the reasons to believe that the agent effectively controls fatigue – probably due to the faster diffusion of lactic acid in blood.