- What Is
- How It Works
- Affect on Body
- Where It Comes From
- How Much Do You Need
- Side Effects
What is beta-alanine?
Many people, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts are on a daily journey to improve their health. This might mean weight loss, training for a competition, or just wanting to feel stronger and healthier. Beta-alanine is a fuel that can help bring out the inner athlete and health enthusiast in all of us. It is a go-to ingredient for nutrition formulations because it can build better muscle mass faster. It helps with energy, focus, and strength. It is an athlete's secret to power and endurance.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid described as non-essential. This means your body will create enough of it on its own and will not require supplementation from your diet. Supplements are useful, however, for physical performance. Beta-alanine is nonproteinogenic and, along with histidine, forms carnosine. Beta-alanine binds histidine in the muscles and the brain. The binding creates carnosine. Carnosine is a potent intracellular buffer that stops hydrogen from accumulating. During exercise, hydrogen levels increase, which leads to a burning sensation in your muscles. When that burning becomes too uncomfortable, you stop working out, whether you were truly finished or not.
Using supplements of beta-alanine aids in enhancing carnosine levels by 80%. The increase in carnosine levels can prevent lactic acid from building up and causing muscle fatigue during physical exertion. Over time carnosine acts as a buffer to delay lactic acid, the cause of that muscle burning. It, therefore, builds endurance and aids in recovery. It is one of the most used supplements used by athletes and professionals due to its capacity to build muscle mass and positive results in physical function.
How does beta-alanine work?
Beta-alanine is well researched and has been used by various people, not just athletes. It does improve gym performance, but it stands out due to its ability to increase your physical endurance for extended periods.
In one study made over a period of 28 days, the subjects saw a 12% increase in their capacity to work and physical capacity. Another found that exercise power and capacity improved with beta-alanine. Usually, this happens when performing high-intensity exercises in small bursts. But, the majority of sports require that your muscles fire for a lot longer. Beta-alanine use helps a diverse group of many athletes. Studies also show beta alanine aids performance in a majority of sports like:
What are the benefits of beta-alanine use?
Some of the general top benefits of beta-alanine use are:
- Increase in strength
- Reducing fatigue
- Quick recovery
- Greater endurance
- During training, less muscle burn
There are many benefits specific to athletes:
- Improved athletic performance: Preventing or slowing the onset of muscle fatigue will give athletes a competitive advantage to improve and test their limits. Increased supplementation has been shown to speed recovery time and enhance mental focus. This will help athletes to go through workouts and training more easily.
- Recovery is faster: Higher carnosine levels in the muscle can speed recovery. Beta-alanine supplements will produce more carnosine and prevent lactic acid build-up that causes fatigue and soreness. Faster recovery allows a longer time in training.
- Precise focus: “Get your head in the game” is a common phrase. While physical performance is essential, mental acuity is necessary as well. If you cannot concentrate, you will not have the capacity to endure when physical work gets tougher. A study found that elite soldiers who used beta-alanine to supplement increased cognitive function in combat testing sessions.
- More significant gains: Athletes often challenge their bodies to work harder under more tension. Supplementation with beta-alanine can give the extra edge to higher gains and testing limits. Improved endurance will allow athletes to train in harder intervals for extended times. The extra reps lead to more significant gains. Research has shown that supplementation with beta-alanine can significantly impact body composition. A study showed that athletes have increased lean muscle in less than a month. Greater endurance can lead to greater strength and stamina, both of which aid in muscle growth. The best athletes use the supplement because it works.
There are also real-world benefits for non-athletes:
- Heart health: Carnosine helps with muscle contraction regulation. It also prevents lipid oxidation in the body. It supports circulation through vasodilation in people with healthy blood pressure.
- Brain health: Powerful antioxidative properties are found in carnosine. It is a strong antiglycan and protects the brain while supporting mental acuity and cognitive function. It may decrease anxiety, delay mental fatigue, support memory, increase focus, and speed up mental functions.
- Bone health: Carnosine influences bone and joint health through antiglycation. It contributes to skeletal integrity by protecting the bone structure and aiding in muscle function.
- Muscle function: Carnosine improves muscle function and quality. Muscle performance is vital in human frame support, balance, and strength for daily activities.
- Systemic protection: Cornosine defeats heavy metals, regulates immune functions, aids blood sugar levels, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The antioxidative benefits protect the body from free radicals.
How does beta-alanine affect the body?
Beta-alanine supplements raise carnosine amounts in skeletal muscle. This helps the body to buffer hydrogen production and offsets the muscle burn sensation. The result will be less muscle fatigue and greater endurance with better performance.
The following methods are how beta-alanine affects the body:
- Carnosine buffer: Carnosine buffers pH decline. When histidine and beta-alanine combine, it takes on hydrogen. The histidine side of the carnosine is a buffer, but the beta-alanine side is also important. It stops the histidine from mixing with other amino acids in protein formation. The result is high concentrations of carnosine in the muscle cells. This leads to better physical performance. More pH is buffered, which delays or prevents muscle fatigue.
- Glycolysis: This term means the breakdown of body supplies of glucose to get energy. For high-intensity workouts, glucose is the primary source of energy. When a workout increases the intensity, the major end products of glucose metabolism become hydrogen ions and lactate. When you exercise, the reactive hydrogen causes the pH in your muscles to fall. The ions can be transported from muscles to the circulatory system. But as exercise intensifies, ion production decreases.
- Fatigue onset: As the pH of muscles falls, fatigue begins sooner due to the rise in lactic acid. This acid affects proteins, slowing power generation and shortening muscle fibers.
Where does beta-alanine come from?
Beta-alanine can be found in premium food sources like fish, meat, and poultry. Beta-alanine, histidine, and carnosine are absorbed during digestion. Though beta-alanine in food sources can be enough, many people take beta-alanine supplements as part of their diets. In athletic performance, beta-alanine obtained naturally from the body and diet is not enough. Research has shown that beta-alanine supplementation gives health benefits like cognition improvement and muscle recovery.
Carnosine isn’t absorbed well when taken orally. Oral carnosine breaks down to beta-alanine and histidine when taken into the GI system. Only small amounts of beta-alanine will then move into the bloodstream. Physical activity will produce enough histidine to make carnosine but not enough beta-alanine.
How much beta-alanine do you need?
It is simple to get beta-alanine results in the right amount. Sometimes people don’t know how much should go into their formulations. This is what you need to know:
- Beta-alanine needs a loading dose for maximal muscle-building results. Scientists recommend minimum daily dosing of 3.2 grams of beta-alanine per day for a month.
- Research shows that by increasing your intake of beta-alanine to 179 grams over a month, you can significantly increase muscle performance.
- Other research shows that taking in more beta-alanine results in gains. The more beta-alanine you take, the better the results.
Does beta-alanine have side effects?
Supplementation of beta-alanine can help to improve high-intensity training for a longer period. This can lead to increased muscle mass. The International Society of Sports Nutrition has stated that the supplementation of beta-alanine at recommended doses is safe in healthy populations, but you need to consult with your doctor before you begin.
There are no widely recognized harmful effects of beta-alanine. Some athletes have a tingling sensation that is medically known as paresthesia. There are no harmful outcomes attached to paraesthesia, but it can be reduced or avoided. This can be done by changing the dosage frequency and amount. You can also take supplements with food or choose an instant release pill vs a sustained release one. Choose the one that is right for you.
Advanced Molecular Labs: "5 Benefits of Beta Alanine."
CarnoSyn® Natural Alternatives International: "Your Complete Guide to Beta-Alanine."
Harvard Public Health Magazine: "Workout Supplements."
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