Researchers are no closer to solving the tiring problem of muscle fatigue.
It is known that the fatigue in muscles in due to a number of factors, a major contributor being the accumulation of acidic metabolites of glucose in tiring muscles, causing the all too familar "burn". Hydrogen ions can move out of the acidified muscles and into the bloodstream, where they are neutralised or "buffered" by substances in the blood. Previous research has shown that oral ingestion of buffering substances like Sodium Bicarbonate before high intensity activity can increase the time to exhaustion and total work performed.
A group of Brazilian researchers decided to supplement athletes with a buffer called Calcium Lactate. Lactate is an interesting choice, because not only can it neutralise acid produced in the muscles, but in doing so, it can also provide the body with more energy, making it more useful than bicarbonate alone.
Researchers were hoping to see a dose-dependent increase in both blood pH and bicarbonate ions, and also an increase in muscle power and output against a placebo group who did not receive any supplementation. While the researchers did see the expected increase in biochemical parameters, which was small but significant, they frustratingly did not see any change in total amount of work done, or in peak or average muscle power, indicating that the onset of muscle fatigue was identical in both groups. Although buffering with supplements like Beta Alanine and Carnosine show great results for many, we are unfortunately no closer to finding a solution for muscle fatigue.
(1) de Salles Painelli V, Da Silva RP, de Oliveira Jr OM, de Oliveira LF, Benatti FB, Rabelo T, Guilherme JP, Lancha Jr AH, Artioli GG. The Effects of Two Different Doses of Calcium Lactate on Blood pH, Bicarbonate and Repeated High-Intensity Exercise Performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013 Nov 25.