Beta-alanine and fish oil improved performance
Beta-alanine boosted World Tour cyclists
Beta-alanine helps form the amino acid carnosine, which supports muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise. In this study, 12 elite World Cup cyclists in training took a placebo or 20 grams of beta-alanine per day for seven days.
Before and after beta-alanine, doctors measured muscle power under training loads in a 10-minute time trial. Compared to placebo, the beta-alanine group saw a 6.21 percent increase in average power, a 2.16 percent increase in travel distance, and a 4.85 percent increase in total work, with no difference in cadence or rotations.
Doctors said beta-alanine usually takes several weeks to increase muscle carnosine, and this study proves short-term, high-dose beta-alanine can increase carnosine more quickly, increasing high-intensity cycling capacity and providing a competitive advantage to elite World Tour cyclists.
Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 8, 2543
Fish oil improves exercise recovery
Earlier studies found fish oil reduced exercise muscle damage after eight weeks. Here, doctors tested fish oil for four weeks in 22 untrained men who took a placebo or 600 mg EPA plus 260 mg DHA per day, within 30 minutes after breakfast, and before exercise.
Using a dumbbell, the men performed 60 elbow-straightening extensions, designed to cause soreness, swelling, and limit range-of-motion. Range of motion decreased immediately in both groups, stayed reduced for three days for placebo, and returned to normal after two days for fish oil. Range of motion was also greater for fish oil, increasing 76.5 percent vs. 53.1 percent for placebo. Creatine kinase, a marker for muscle damage, increased for placebo but not fish oil.
Reference: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; March, 2021, Article No. 18