What happens to our body and metabolic pathways when we exercise? The list is as exhaustive as it is complex to describe, however what is inescapable is the burn, ache and quite often, cramping that accompanies extreme physical exertion…right!? I’m sure we can all relate to the ‘burn’ felt when exercising, it’s a marmite thing i.e. you either love it or hate it! I love it, at least until it starts to hinder my performance!
So how can you go about minimising the proton build up that leads to acidosis (increased acidity) and fatigue within your muscle? Well, the first line of defence is to reduce the build up of Hydrogen ions within the muscle because this is what causes an acidic environment. Once the hydrogen ions accumulate (as a bi-product of energy metabolism) in the muscle, it almost instantly leaks into your blood/circulatory system…this is your 1st and 2nd target for maximising endurance respectively.
Carnosine is an interesting dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine and is highly concentrated in the brain and muscle. Tipton and Luc van Loon (2013) suggest that carnosine could be your body’s first line of defence against fatigue because it helps to buffer the hydrogen ions in the muscle before they leak into the blood stream.
Tipton, K, D & Luc van Loon, (2013). Nutritional Coaching Strategy to Modulate Training Efficiency. Nestle Nutrition Institute. Basel: Karger.