Carnosine helps you go the extra mile...
Carnosine is made up of two amino acids, beta-alanine and histidine, and is a powerful intracellular buffer. Carnosine is found in both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers, though significantly in higher concentrations in type 2 fibers (the fibers we primarily use in high intensity strength workouts and which are most responsive to growth). To function effectively, muscle cells rely on buffers like carnosine to avoid becoming acidic (low pH) during exercise. If you want your muscles to remain strong and maintain powerful contractions, they need to be in an optimal pH range. If they don?t and the pH drops below that optimal level, you have significantly less strength and fatigue more quickly.
You know this is happening when you feel that familiar burn in your muscles or even when you?re lifting heavy and reach muscular failure. Muscle pH has dropped and it?s largely a result of an increase in hydrogen ions (H+) which build up when you break down the high energy compound ATP during exercise. Wouldn?t it be nice to knock out a few more reps? If you had more carnosine in your muscles, you would. Without it, your energy and endurance decline rapidly and your strength suffers. The breakdown of ATP and the subsequent rise in H+ concentrations occurs in our all of our energy systems but is most prevalent in an energy system called glycolysis which also produces lactic acid. Lactic acid releases H+ ions, contributing further to the pool of H+ that?s filling your muscles from the breakdown of ATP. With the presence of H+ pH drops fast as does muscular performance.
Carnosine to the rescue. Since hydrogen ions are swarming your muscle cells, whether you feel a burn or not, any added buffering of these ions is the key to keeping your muscles firing. Carnosine does exactly that, naturally absorbing H+ and keeping us closer to the optimal pH range, allowing us to train harder and train longer. Of course, the challenge is that we only have a limited level of naturally stored carnosine in our muscles. With more stored carnosine, you could lift more and lift longer. You would be stronger and most likely bigger, leaner and more muscular.