Beta-alanine from SPONSER® is an intracellular acid buffer for competition and strength athletes. Suitable for high-intensity, repetitive exercise, where muscle acidification and the concomitant pH reduction in the blood limit performance.
Due to the improved "acid buffer capacity" beta-alanine provides an increased lactate tolerance. Thus, with one's lactate tolerance derived by specific exercise, athletes can sustain a given load for a longer time or achieve a higher performance in a predefined time. Furthermore, a significantly faster recovery can be expected because the acid removal from muscle is accelerated by the increased buffer capacity.
Which sports benefit?
- Typical anaerobic-lactacid sports:
Swimming, track&field (short and medium distances), rowing, skiing, cross-country skiing (sprint)
- repetitive interval loads:
strength athletes, various team sports (football, hockey), martial arts (karate, judo)
The targeted resistance exercise of isolated muscle groups in strength athletes produces locally very high lactate values, which must be removed as quickly as possible. If the muscle remains sour for too long, the next set cannot be completed quickly enough and with sufficient power.
The performance improvements seem to be all the more pronounced the bigger the load-induced metabolic acidosis. Thus, athletes such as middle distance runners, rowers, swimmers or skiers who are used to anaerobic exercise are expected to benefit more from supplementation than endurance athletes such as long-distance runners, triathletes or cyclists.
Function and mode of action
Beta-alanine as an amino acid supplement increases the muscle's carnosine level. The most important function of carnosine is to buffer acids. In contrast to extracellular buffering of a soda loading (cf. LACTAT BUFFER), carnosine acts within the cell. Of great interest in this context is the combined application of soda loading and beta-alanine supplementation in order to improve both extracellular and intracellular buffering capacity.
Thanks to the slow-release tablet formulations, the unpleasant (but harmless) tingling sensation of the skin caused by beta-alanine is prevented. Please follow the instructions for use (loading phase).
Tipp: as an intracellular buffer substance beta-alanine is especially suited in combination with the extracellular acid buffer LACTAT BUFFER by SPONSER®.
Ice Hockey Nutrition
Nutrition in ice hockey: what ice hockey players should be aware of
Ice hockey is a fascinating sport: fast-paced, physical and in some cases highly dramatic. Although the regular match time is usually three times 20 minutes with breaks of 15 minutes, the effective play time is much longer. Depending on the interruptions during the game, the five field players and the goalie can spend up to two and a half hours on ice. It is obvious that a competition of over two hours requires a targeted and carefully balanced nutritional strategy if an athlete is to fully exploit his performance potential on the ice. We explain in the following what ice hockey players nutrition-wise need to consider before, during and after the competition and make recommendations for product selection from the SPONSER range.
Filling glycogen stores
Full energy reservoirs are the be-all and end-all in a sport with long performing times such as ice hockey. Studies confirm that glycogen supercompensation (carboloading) with a concentrated, carbohydrate-containing drink provides a considerable energy advantage on the day before the competition. Suitable products:
• CARBO LOADER: High energy sports drink for replenishing glycogen stores, contains Vitargo®, a barley starch hydrolysate specially developed for this purpose.
• LIQUID ENERGY GELS: Those who prefer it quick and comfortable can take carbohydrates directly from the tube with these gels. They deliver easily tolerable energy, which is available within a few minutes after ingestion.
• HIGH ENERGY BAR: Competition bars for long-lasting energy. Ideal up to one hour before use.
Increased lactate tolerance
The relatively short, but high-intensity blocks, with sprints and hardly any breathers, as they occur again and again in ice hockey, result in high lactate accumulation. Beta-alanine and soda loading (sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate) in advance increase the extracellular buffer capacity, which in turn delays the muscle acidosis and fatigue. Athletes benefit also from creatine supplementation, especially when it comes to speed and interval performance - two factors that play a central role in ice hockey. Suitable products:
• LACTAT BUFFER: For professional soda loading during 4-5 days before important games.
• BETA ALANINE: In contrast to soda loading, it does not increase the extracellular but the intracellular buffer capacity and thus ideally complements the LACTATE BUFFER. Loading is necessary for approx. 8 weeks and should be paused after approx. 12 weeks for several weeks.
• CREATINE MONOHYDRATE: Loading phase during 1-2 weeks, but can also be used throughout the entire season. For even better absorption, a combination with CREATINE PYRUMAX is also possible.
DURING THE GAME
Ensure regular liquid supply
Despite the obviously cool temperatures on the ice field, the loss of liquid is significantly higher than one would expect, due to high-intensity performance and the hindered thermoregulation by full-body clothing and protection gear. For this reason, professional athletes make sure to drink 0.5 to 1 litres of an energy- and electrolyte-containing sports drink per hour during a match. Suitable products:
Avoiding blood sugar fluctuations and muscle cramps
In competitive sports, energy supply plays a central role because the body's fuel stores are not sufficient for a duration of more than approx. 90 to 120 minutes. LIQUID ENERGY Gels can therefore also be used in addition to carbohydrate-electrolytes drinks. They provide fast energy, can be taken easily and do not strain the digestion. Players with high sweat losses and/or cramp tendency may benefit from our MUSCLE RELAX Shot. Suitable products:
• LIQUID ENERGY GELS: Best tolerated liquid energy concentrate from quick and slow available carbohydrates. The energy kick par excellence! With or without caffeine.
• MUSCLE RELAX: 30 ml bottles of cucumber juice and vinegar. At first signs or acute muscle cramps, rinse your mouth briefly with it and drink afterwards.
Keeping coordination and concentration high
Reaction time, attention, coordination, concentration and a high focus are elementary performance components in a technical and fast discipline like ice hockey. Suitable products for increased cognitive performance and delayed fatigue:
• ACTIVATOR: Ready-to-drink flask with 200 mg caffeine from guarana, mate and green tea. Ideal from the second third or to manage mental fatigue. To be taken approx. 30-60 min before the desired time of effect. Take in two portions depending on tolerance.
• MENTAL FOCUS: Caffeine-free formulation with green tea active ingredients and Rhodiola Rosea. Promotes focusing without increasing anxiety.
Ensure fast recovery
«After the match is before the match» is a bon mot in ice hockey. It is therefore crucial to take care of regeneration immediately after a match. A high-quality regeneration supplement supplies the body with fluid and electrolytes, fills the glycogen stores and repairs endured muscle damage. Suitable products:
• RECOVERY DRINK: Fruity regeneration drink, lactose-free. Preparation with water.
• PRO RECOVERY: Efficient, highly professional protein-based regeneration product to balance muscle stress. Lactose-free and without artificial sweeteners. Preparation with water.
• NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2: The professional tip! Its vasodilatory effect enables better nutrient supply and reduction of metabolic end products (e.g. lactate). Ideal for supporting regeneration.
Author: Remo Jutzeler
Head R&D SPONSER SPORT FOOD
Ing. Applied Food Sciences UAS
MAS Nutrition & Health ETHZ
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Soda loading with LACTAT BUFFER increases the lactate tolerance in high-intensity sports
Muscle hyperacidity and the consequent accumulation of lactate as well as a short-term drop in blood pH are performance-limiting factors when it comes to high-intensity training and competition. The athlete becomes «acidic» and therefore limited in his performance. In this situation, sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate offer great benefits. SPONSER sells both ingredients in its beverage powder LACTAT BUFFER.
Soda loading: function and benefit
Supplementation with LACTAT BUFFER or sodium bicarbonate and/or citrate is also called «soda loading». If sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate are used in high-intensity sports that last from approx. 1 to 10 minutes, significant performance improvements can be expected. The greater the anaerobic-lactacid load, and thus the more pronounced the induced metabolic acidosis, the more effective an increased buffering capacity may improve performance.
Which sports benefit?
In practice, this means that athletes such as middle distance runners, rowers, swimmers, alpine ski athletes etc. benefit significantly from this specific kind of supplementation. More than, for example, endurance athletes such as long-distance runners, triathletes or cyclists. This is because anaerobic sports train significantly higher lactate tolerance than endurance sports. Another group of athletes that potentially benefits from a soda loading is the one working with repetitive interval loads. This applies to many team sports, ball sports and martial arts.
Soda loading is also interesting for strength athletes, as the isolated training of fewer muscles produces very high local lactate values, which must be removed as quickly as possible. If the muscle remains «sour» for too long, the next set cannot be completed quickly enough and with sufficient strain. Since soda loading also means an increased sodium intake, supplementation in weight training should not be carried out permanently but reserved for intensive phases. The same applies to sports where one or even several competitions take place every week.
Increased lactate tolerance, improved acid buffer capacity
Due to the mode of action of an increased bicarbonate buffer in the blood, the individual lactate value of the athlete is not necessarily increased, but primarily the lactate tolerance. This means that the athlete with his individual lactate value can endure a load for a longer time or achieve a higher performance. The athlete does not necessarily interpret the perceived load as lower if the maximum achievable performance in competition is aimed at. In contrast however, a given, defined performance should be perceived as less stressful. In all cases a much faster recovery is to be expected, because the acid removal is accelerated by the increased buffer capacity. This means faster disappearance of the «stiff» muscle feeling after exercise as well as faster recovery.
Studies prove effectiveness
As early as 1993, a first meta-analysis examined 29 studies on athletes with soda loading. Overall, the performance until exhaustion was massively increased with an average of 27%. Due to the diversity of the study designs, however, also with a large variation of +7% to +47% (average thus +27%). In the meantime, many other studies have been carried out and soda loading is considered one of the supplementation measures with the scientifically most broadly supported, performance-enhancing effect.
Dosage and intake
In the past, soda loading was practiced about 3 hours before the competition, which was an enormous dose when taking 0.3-0.5 g sodium bicarbonate and/or citrate per kg body weight. This led to gastrointestinal problems very often. According to the latest study findings, supplementation is now carried out over several days. Thus, the tolerance problems of a high single dosage can be avoided.
Ideally, LACTAT BUFFER should be consumed 3-5 days before the competition, spread over the day as recommended, with the last dose being taken 3 hours before the start at the latest. Interestingly, the performance-enhancing effect of this multi-day intake strategy seems to last up to 2 days after discontinuation of supplementation. This is accordingly important for sports events lasting several days.
Combined increase of intra- and extracellular buffer capacity
Many studies about supplementation to increase intra- and extracellular buffer capacity haven been published so far; with many different intake profiles and forms of workouts. As expected, and as explained above, the greatest benefit is achieved with highly intensive loads of 1 to 10 minutes duration. Such forms of performance produce the highest acidosis in the musculature and consequently in the blood. In order to achieve maximum benefit in the anaerobic-lactacid performance range, the increase in extracellular buffer capacity through soda loading can be combined with an increase in intracellular buffer capacity through beta-alanine. The combination of these two measures can lead to an additional increase in performance, at least if chronic soda loading is carried out (approx. 3-4 days before the competition). Since the intake of BETA-ALANINE also requires a chronic intake for about 8 weeks in order to increase the body's own carnosine stores, such an intake strategy does not give rise to any tolerance problems compared to acute intake on the day of the competition.
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