Title

beta-alanine supplementation improves tactical performance but not cognitive function in combat soldiers

Authors

Authors

J. R. Hoffman; G. Landau; J. R. Stout; M. Dabora; D. S. Moran; N. Sharvit; M. W. Hoffman; Y. Ben Moshe; W. P. McCormack; G. Hirschhorn;I. Ostfeld

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

J. Int. Soc. Sport Nutr.

Keywords

Military performance; Marksmanship; Power; Physical performance; Supplements; MUSCLE CARNOSINE; NEUROMUSCULAR FATIGUE; EXERCISE PERFORMANCE; FOOTBALL; PLAYERS; BODY-COMPOSITION; SLEEP LOSS; CAFFEINE; MOOD; THRESHOLD; ENDURANCE; Nutrition & Dietetics; Sport Sciences

Abstract

Background: There are no known studies that have examined beta-alanine supplementation in military personnel. Considering the physiological and potential neurological effects that have been reported during sustained military operations, it appears that beta-alanine supplementation may have a potential benefit in maintaining physical and cognitive performance during high-intensity military activity under stressful conditions. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of 28 days of beta-alanine ingestion in military personnel while fatigued on physical and cognitive performance. Methods: Twenty soldiers (20.1 +/- 0.9 years) from an elite combat unit were randomly assigned to either a beta-alanine ( BA) or placebo (PL) group. Soldiers were involved in advanced military training, including combat skill development, navigational training, self-defense/hand-to-hand combat and conditioning. All participants performed a 4-km run, 5-countermovement jumps using a linear position transducer, 120-m sprint, a 10-shot shooting protocol with assault rifle, including overcoming a misfire, and a 2-min serial subtraction test to assess cognitive function before (Pre) and after ( Post) 28 days of supplementation. Results: The training routine resulted in significant increases in 4-km run time for both groups, but no between group differences were seen (p = 0.597). Peak jump power at Post was greater for BA than PL (p = 0.034), while mean jump power for BA at Post was 10.2% greater (p = 0.139) than PL. BA had a significantly greater (p = 0.012) number of shots on target at Post (8.2 +/- 1.0) than PL (6.5 +/- 2.1), and their target engagement speed at Post was also significantly faster (p = 0.039). No difference in serial subtraction performance was seen between the groups (p = 0.844). Conclusion: Results of this study indicate that 4-weeks of beta-alanine ingestion in young, healthy soldiers did not impact cognitive performance, but did enhance power performance, marksmanship and target engagement speed from pre-ingestion levels.

Journal Title

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

Volume

11

Publication Date

1-1-2014

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

8

WOS Identifier

WOS:000334716700001

ISSN

1550-2783

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