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This study examined the effects of an oral nutritional supplement fortified with two different doses of beta-alanine on body composition, muscle function and physical capacity in older adults. Using a double-blind placebo controlled design, 60 men and women (age±SD=70.7±6.2yrs) were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 1) oral nutritional supplement (ONS; n=20) (8oz; 230kcal; 12g PRO; 31g CHO; 6g FAT), 2) ONS plus 800mg beta-alanine (ONS800; n=19), and 3) ONS plus 1200mg beta-alanine (ONS1200; n=21). Treatments were consumed twice per day for 12 weeks. At pre- and post-supplementation period, participants performed a discontinuous, submaximal cycle ergometry test to determine physical working capacity at fatigue threshold (PWCFT). Fat mass, total body and arm lean soft tissue mass (ALSTM) were measured with DEXA while muscle strength was assessed with handgrip dynamometry (GRIP) and 30-s sit-to-stand (STS) was used to measure lower body functionality. Muscle quality (MQ) was calculated with GRIPmax and DEXA derived ALSTM [GRIP (kg)·ALSTM (kg)-1]. Two-way analysis of variance was used to compare pre- to post-supplementation measures and group differences. There were 16 dropouts over the duration of the study. Final group sizes were ONS=16 (m=11, w=5), ONS800=15 (m=5, w=10), and ONS1200=13 (m=6, w=7). No significant changes were observed for body composition or GRIP values pre to post. Significant increases in PWCFT were seen in ONS1200 (13.6%) and ONS800 (17.8%) pre- to post-supplementation (p0.05) in change scores were found between ONS and ONS800. ONS fortified with beta-alanine may improve physical working capacity, muscle quality and function in older men and women. These findings could have importance in the perception of frailty, and the maintenance of health and independent living in older adults.

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William P. McCormack, Jeffrey R. Stout, Nadia S. Emerson, Tyler C. Scanlon, Ashlee M. Warren, Adam J. Wells, Adam M. Gonzalez, Gerald T. Mangine, Edward H. Robinson, Maren S. Fragala, Jay R. Hoffman, Oral nutritional supplement fortified with beta-alanine improves physical working capacity in older adults: A randomized, placebo-controlled study, Experimental Gerontology, Volume 48, Issue 9, 2013, Pages 933-939,