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Lactic acid as a hypertrophic stimulus, GH output and beta-alanine

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  • Lactic acid as a hypertrophic stimulus, GH output and beta-alanine

    I just wanted to start up some discussion on beta-alanine supplementation in relation to lactic acid (and in turn the possible role of lactic acid in GH output and as a hypertrophic stimulus).

    Ultimately I want to address this question: Do you think taking beta-alanine is a good idea when hypertrophy is your main goal? Could the buffering capability of carnosine in myocytes possibly hinder hypertrophy (by acting as a buffer)?

    The chemistry makes sense. Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting precursor to carnosine. Carnosine is found in high levels in skeletal muscle. Carnosine, a dipeptide (beta-alanyl-L-his), contains an imidazole ring (pKa ~7) which leads to the potential of chemical buffering within skeletal muscle.

    Now this isn't to say you can't build muscle while taking beta-alanine... in fact, the argument can be made that the fatigue blunting/delaying/buffering effects of beta-alanine supplementation may allow for increased training intensity/load that will in turn lead to gains that may have otherwise not been possible. Whether this negates my aforementioned concern, I do not know.

    This leads me to think that maybe beta-alanine might be better suited for endurance athletes, or athletes in-season/maintenance where performance is paramount and hypertrophy is not a major concern.

    Thoughts?
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  • #2
    If I am not mistaking, coach Charles Poliquin suggests at least 10g of ba....otherwise it's like farting into a hurricane to quote him...lol
    Last edited by LG1; 08-02-2011, 06:59 PM.
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    • #3
      I can only imagine what Homon will be bringing to this thread when he sees it... Cant wait to read more...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LG1 View Post
        If I am not mistaking, coach Charles Poliquin suggests at least 10g of ba....otherwise it's like farting into a hurricane to quote him...lol
        do you have that link? would like to read. 10 grams seems like a lot of tingles to me
        -c

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        • #5
          too much lactic acid is also a detriment to muscle building as well. I think the point of the beta alanine is to help buffer the lactic acid so it stimulates but doesn't start to inhibit muscle growth. Interested to hear homons perspective as well.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by RollinsClone View Post
            too much lactic acid is also a detriment to muscle building as well. I think the point of the beta alanine is to help buffer the lactic acid so it stimulates but doesn't start to inhibit muscle growth. Interested to hear homons perspective as well.
            Can you substantiate this? Not attacking, simply curious. Are any papers coming to mind?
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            • #7
              Maybe some anecdotal experience may help? Who here uses beta-alanine? When? All the time?
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              • #8
                No specific studies to post, just what ive found through research and training. I've read a few regarding high intensity cardio and not recovering as well. It's kind of like training in general, you want to damage a little to stimulate repair and growth, but the more you damage it the further you have to come back to recover. So say lactic acid has a good buffering ability at low levels, but lactic acid is still that, acidic, and there's numerous studies showing that muscle doesn't grow as well in a highly acidic environment. I've rad a few other things in studies as well regarding having to bring down lactic acid, and those who bring it down quicker tend to recover better, I'd have to do a lot of searching for the articles, maybe homon has something at the tip of his fingers....
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                • #9
                  I'm no expert and I wish Homon would stumble upon this thread, but as far as lactic acid and recovery, using your high intensity cardio as an example, I believe the prolonged recovery is due more to muslcular damage vice lactate accumulation as lactate is removed fairly fast via oxidation and other bioenergetic means. Look at elite sprinters as an example. Accumulate quite a bit of lactate during sprint trials, but typically have the ability to recovery fairly quickly.

                  Again, this is an area of ongoing study, but I don't think lactate is a primary cause of soreness such as DOMS, more that is is determintal in the short term due to hydrogen accumaltion and the effects of NADH/FADH and as far as a hypertrophic stimulus, I would guess yes, at least a little considering increased metabolites in the blood cause vasodilation..

                  I wish Homon were here
                  Last edited by Michael Travis; 08-03-2011, 05:56 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Travis View Post
                    I'm no expert and I wish Homon would stumble upon this thread, but as far as lactic acid and recovery, using your high intensity cardio as an example, I believe the prolonged recovery is due more to muslcular damage vice lactate accumulation as lactate is removed fairly fast via oxidation and other bioenergetic means. Look at elite sprinters as an example. Accumulate quite a bit of lactate during sprint trials, but typically have the ability to recovery fairly quickly.

                    Again, this is an area of ongoing study, but I don't think lactate is a primary cause of soreness such as DOMS, more that is is determintal in the short term due to hydrogen accumaltion and the effects of NADH/FADH and as far as a hypertrophic stimulus, I would guess yes, at least a little considering increased metabolites in the blood cause vasodilation..

                    I wish Homon were here
                    But don't elite level sprinters have their levels drop dramatically? As in some athletes actually have their lactate levels decrease as they exercise, and they are usually the "most gifted" and "genetically blessed". I would be lead to believe the opposite is true, short term good, long term bad due to prolonged acidity of the blood and increased time in a catabolic state. Short term I'd be lead to believe would spike lactate, create the stimulus for repair and then die off so the primarily cGMP cascades can take effect and start the anabolic/ rebuilding process. I'm not sure but if lactate isn't I believe one of the downstream metabolites stimulates via cAMP and having prolonged cAMP cascades would not be conducive to growth.

                    Where are yah homon?! lol (jk he's most likely extremely busy and we can only hope he sees this later on this week)
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RollinsClone View Post
                      But don't elite level sprinters have their levels drop dramatically? As in some athletes actually have their lactate levels decrease as they exercise, and they are usually the "most gifted" and "genetically blessed"...
                      I know this is true for long term, that yes comparatively they would have lower levels of lactate as well as higher lactate thresholds, so perhaps I was off... Interesting topic though for sure.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by c.m. View Post
                        do you have that link? would like to read. 10 grams seems like a lot of tingles to me
                        -c
                        http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...iquin_top_tips

                        15. Beta Alanine Kicks Ass

                        I think Beta Alanine is great. It allows you to do more reps. I think it's most beneficial when you work in the 4-5RM range. If you're the type of guy who does ten sets of three (10 x 3), then it'll allow you to get that up to tens sets of four or five (10 x 4-5). I've used it a lot in the last six months and my athletes are making much faster progress, especially at high doses. Up the dose until you get tingly, then back down a little. I think people should take 10 grams of it a day. Taking 3 grams a day is just far too small of a dose. That dose is like trying to fart against a hurricane.
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                        • #13
                          acute hormonal increases aren't near as powerful at stimulating hypertrophy as tension, both load and TUT, as well as volume

                          if BA supplementation can increase any/all of these, I can't imagine it would be a hinderance

                          and even with BA buffering some of the acids, it won't buffer forever, so you could push harder/do more work and THEN get the metabolic byproduct effect
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bhman6 View Post
                            acute hormonal increases aren't near as powerful at stimulating hypertrophy as tension, both load and TUT, as well as volume

                            if BA supplementation can increase any/all of these, I can't imagine it would be a hinderance

                            and even with BA buffering some of the acids, it won't buffer forever, so you could push harder/do more work and THEN get the metabolic byproduct effect

                            This is what I thought immediately after reading the OP. You can still push until you reach your lactic acid threshold, which should be after a few more reps than without Beta Alanine. So if there is anything to the acute hormonal response then you will still reap those benefits along with some extra TUT/Tonnage for the workout.

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