Beta-alanine for judokas: how can you help these athletes?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid synthesized in the liver in our body. It is also found naturally in animal products such as pork, chicken or red meat. Now how beta-alanine for judokas can help, we’ll show you in this article. First, understand that the ergogenic effect, that is, the improvement of performance with beta alanine happens due to its ability to increase carnosine synthesis.

How beta-alanine works

Carnosine is a dipeptide with numerous physiological functions, formed by the combination of amino acids L-histidine and beta-alanine, with the help of the enzyme carnosine synthesis. The main mechanism of action of carnosine in physical exercise is to exercise a buffering of H+ ions within the skeletal muscle, inhibiting the decrease in intracellular pH and consequently attenuating muscle fatigue.

In addition, during intense physical exercise, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced, in which they can induce muscle fatigue and muscle damage. However, an antioxidant effect of carnosine has been demonstrated that eliminates free radicals and prevents this effect from oxidative stress.

With this, offering the right amount of beta alanine is vital to maximize sports performance. Evidence shows that it is necessary to make a chronic supplementation of 4 to 6 g of beta-alanine in a minimum period of two weeks, in order to have a significant ergogenic effect.

Beta-alanine for judokas

Judo is a combat sport, in which athletes perform multiple intermittent efforts of high intensity, aiming to throw the opponent on the ground or finish it. Judo fights average 3 minutes, during which 30-second efforts are interspersed with 10 seconds of rest intervals. Due to the intermittent high-intensity efforts that judokas perform during combat, it is reasonable to suggest that ATP resynthesis occurs primarily through phosphocreatine and anaerobic glycolysis.

Also, reduced levels of intracellular pH levels have been found in studies on judo combat and are believed to be a critical cause of combat loss, suggesting that beta-alanine supplementation may improve judokas’ performance..

With this, a clinical trial titled
“Beta-alanine supplementation enhances judo-related performance in highly-trained athletes”
, investigated the effects of 6.4 grams per day of beta-alanine for 4 weeks in 23 national and international judokas. The study showed that judokas supplemented with beta alanine increased the total number of pitches compared to a placebo condition.

Clinical practice

Thus, beta alanine seems to be a great ally in the optimization of performance in judo, due to its role in the increase in the number of falls performed by athletes who supplement 6.4 grams per day. However, studies are lacking showing how this can improve championship performance.

Bibliographic references:

Reading suggestion:
Can beta-alanine increase endurance performance?

Article: Simoncini L, Lago-Rodríguez Á, López-Samanes Á, Pérez-López A, Domínguez R. Effects of Nutritional Supplements on Judo-Related Performance: A Review. J Hum Kinet. 2021 Jan 30;77:81-96.

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