Biomedical Updates

Beta Alanine For Judo & Jiu Jitsu Advantage

T o determine the isolated and combined effects of beta-alanine (BA) and sodium bicarbonate (SB) on high-intensity intermittent upper-body performance in judo and jiu-jitsu competitors, researchers selected 37 athletes who were assigned to one of four groups: (1) placebo (PL); (2) BA+PL; (3) SB+PL or (4) BA+SB.1

To start, the athletes ingested either 6.4 g/day of BA for 4 weeks, followed by 500 mg/kg SB or PL for 7 days. Before and after 4 weeks of supplementation, the athletes completed four upper-body 30-second Wingate tests (most often performed on a cycle ergometer), which are used to measure peak anaerobic power, as well as anaerobic capacity. Each test was separated by 3 min.

At the end of the study, BA and SB alone increased the total work done in +7 and +8 %, respectively. Co-ingestion resulted in an additive effect (+14 %). BA alone significantly improved mean power in the 2nd and 3rd bouts and tended to improve the 4th bout. SB alone significantly improved mean power in the 4th bout and tended to improve in the 2nd and 3rd bouts. BA+SB enhanced mean power in all four bouts. PL+PL did not elicit any alteration on mean and peak power. Post-exercise blood lactate increased with all treatments except with PL+PL. Only BA+SB resulted in lower ratings of perceived exertion. Chronic BA and SB supplementation alone equally enhanced high-intensity intermittent upper-body performance in well-trained athletes. Combined BA and SB promoted a clear additive ergogenic effect.

It has been conjectured that BA is principally effective only in elite athletes, yet a very recent study has show that not to be true.2 BA was equally effective at improving repeated high-intensity cycling performance in both trained and non-trained individuals, highlighting the efficacy of BA as an ergogenic aid for high-intensity exercise regardless of the training status of the individual.


  1. Tobias G, Benatti FB, de Salles Painelli V, Roschel H, Gualano B, Sale C, Harris RC, Lancha AH Jr, Artioli GG. Additive effects of beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate on upper-body intermittent performance. Amino Acids. 2013 Aug;45(2):309-17. doi: 10.1007/s00726-013-1495-z. Epub 2013 Apr 18.
  2. de Salles Painelli V, Saunders B, Sale C, Harris RC, Solis MY, Roschel H, Gualano B, Artioli GG, Lancha Jr AH. Influence of training status on high-intensity intermittent performance in response to b-alanine supplementation. Amino Acids. 2014 Feb 6. [Epub ahead of print]

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