The Effects of Chronic Betaine Supplementation on Exercise Performance, Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Saturation and Associated Biochemical Parameters in Resistance Trained Men

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Trepanowski, JF, Farney, TM, McCarthy, CG, Schilling, BK, Craig, SA, and Bloomer, RJ. The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance, skeletal muscle oxygen saturation, and associated biochemical parameters in resistance trained men. J Strength Cond Res 25(12): 3461–3471, 2011—We examined the effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance and associated parameters in resistance trained men. Men were randomly assigned in a double-blind manner using a crossover design to consume betaine (2.5 g of betaine mixed in 500 ml of Gatorade®) or a placebo (500 ml of Gatorade®) for 14 days, with a 21-day washout period. Before and after each treatment period, tests of lower- and upper-body muscular power and isometric force were conducted, including a test of upper-body muscular endurance (10 sets of bench press exercise to failure). Muscle tissue oxygen saturation (StO2) during the bench press protocol was measured via near infrared spectroscopy. Blood samples were collected before and after the exercise test protocol for analysis of lactate, nitrate/nitrite (NOx), and malondialdehyde (MDA). When analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance, no significant differences were noted between conditions for exercise performance variables (p > 0.05). However, an increase in total repetitions (p = 0.01) and total volume load (p = 0.02) in the 10-set bench press protocol was noted with betaine supplementation (paired t-tests), with values increasing approximately 6.5% from preintervention to postintervention. Although not of statistical significance (p = 0.14), postexercise blood lactate increased to a lesser extent with betaine supplementation (210%) compared with placebo administration (270%). NOx was lower postintervention as compared with preintervention (p = 0.06), and MDA was relatively unchanged. The decrease in StO2 during the bench press protocol was greater with betaine vs. placebo (p = 0.01), possibly suggesting enhanced muscle oxygen consumption. These findings indicate that betaine supplementation results in a moderate increase in total repetitions and volume load in the bench press exercise, without favorably impacting other performance measures.

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