Betaine boosts muscular endurance among young team handball players

The new research was the work of researchers from Iran, Canada and the United States. It was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​.

Handball (often called ‘team handball’ in North America to distinguish it from the game played in a court) is a sport that requires a balance of upper and lower body strength. The demands on muscular endurance and a speed/power balance are similar to basketball, and the rules on contact between players are similar, too.

Betaine is a molecule first extracted as a byproduct of sugar beet refining. This endogenous compound has several physiological functions, including facilitating cellular hydration and acting as a ‘chaperone’ to protect certain proteins within the cell from degradation.

It also functions to boost the supply of free choline, which when synthesized into acetylcholine can support signaling in motor neurons. This implies a sports performance benefit by diminishing the perceived rate of exertion, which is one of the limiting factors in training.

The researchers noted that the molecule has a long history of study in this area. The first mention of betaine being used to support nerve signaling and muscular function was from a 1952 study done with polio sufferers, some of whom experienced muscular weakness after recovering from the disease. More recently, betaine was shown to boost power output and fat free massamong young, untrained women. It was also shown to iimprove the performance of young pro soccer players​.

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