Beta-Alanine May Lengthen Workout Time, Improve Cognitive Function in Mature Adults
Both strength and cognitive function naturally decline after age 50, but there are ways to push back against nature. A recent study suggests that taking a daily beta-alanine supplement may help middle aged men and women work out longer and reduce exercise induced cognitive decline.
Participants in the study included six healthy, middle aged people with an average age of 57. They were given either 2.4 grams of beta-alanine or a placebo daily for four weeks. The participants performed at the beginning of the study to measure their time to exhaustion. Cognitive function was assessed using the Stroop Test five minutes before exercise, immediately before and after exercise, and five minutes after fatigue.
At the conclusion of the study, the beta-alanine group increased their average time to exhaustion from 17.3 minutes to 25.2 minutes, or 45%. The control group increased from 22.9 minutes to 23.8 minutes, or 4%. The researchers also found that the placebo group had significantly slower completion times on the Stroop Test five minutes after exercise. No similar declines were noted in the beta-alanine group.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo conducted the study. It was published in the April 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that previous studies have found may help build lean muscle mass, improve physical function in general, and improve physical function in the elderly. It can primarily be found in meats but the most effective way to consume beta-alanine is in a supplement form.