Most people have heard of Beta Alanine, but not many are aware of what this ingredient does or how it works. It has become a staple in most pre-workout formulas and is actually hard to find one without it!
I am by no means a chemist or certified supplement expert, but I have gathered info from various sources and translated most of it in my own words.
What is Beta Alanine & How does it work?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid and also naturally-occurring that is up-taken by skeletal muscle where it is used to synthesize Carnosine. Carnosine which is a “pH buffer” in the skeletal muscles, reduces lactic acid accumulation in your muscles during exercise, which leads to improved athletic performance.
Carnosine is produced by the combination of Histidine and Beta Alanine. But the problem is, levels of naturally occurring Beta Alanine are normally low in the body. By supplementing with Beta Alanine, those levels raise which in turn, produces more Carnosine.
Here's how Carnosine works during exercise:
- Glucose is broken down: Glycolysis is the breakdown of glucose(sugar), which is the main source of fuel during high-intensity exercise.
- Lactate is produced: As you exercise, your muscles break glucose(sugar stores) down into lactic acid. This is converted into lactate, which produces hydrogen ions.
- Muscles become more acidic: The hydrogen ions reduce the pH level in your muscles, making them more acidic.
- Fatigue sets in: Muscle acidity blocks glucose breakdown and reduces the muscles' ability to contract. This causes fatigue.
- Carnosine buffer: Carnosine serves as a buffer against the acid, reducing the acidity in muscles during high-intensity exercise.
What can you expect?
As previously mentioned, Beta-alanine improves athletic performance. It can reduce fatigue, increase endurance and boost performance in high-intensity exercises.
Studies have shown that beta-alanine helps increase the time to exhaustion (TTE).
In other words, it helps you exercise for longer periods at a time (3, 8, 12). A study of cyclists found that 4 weeks of supplements increased total work completed by 13%. It increased by an additional 3.2% after 10 weeks (5).
Similarly, 20 male subjects on a comparable cycling test increased their time to exhaustion by 13–14% after 4 weeks of beta-alanine supplements (13).
Personally, I prefer around 3 grams. But handful of products in the store have 3.2g per serving which I think is perfect. Here is a link for those products. Click Here
The only side effect that has been known of is, a "itchy" sensation.
Depending on the person, it can feel like anything from a light warm sensation all the way to a tingly itchiness that isn’t pleasant. Either way, we recommend you push through it as the benefits of beta-alanine much outweigh this temporary experience.
But, why does it happen, and is it safe? Yes, beta-alanine tingles are safe. And what is happening in your body, is that a specific G-coupled protein receptor on certain neurons near your skin detect beta alanine and get confused/excited [study]. For a long time, it was hypothesized that the itching was a histidine response, but it turns out that this receptor does not respond to histidine counterparts, just good old beta-alanine and heat.
In conclusion, Beta Alanine is a great ingredient to supplement for increased performance for any type of exercise. It is a safe ingredient that virtually anyone can take and can be used during anytime of the day, or night.
I hope this info helps and if interested in checking out some products with high doses, here is the LINK.
Connect with me on social media!
Thanks for reading.
NutriFit is a locally and privately owned nutritional supplement retail company specializing in high-quality products, competitive pricing, nutritional information and excellent customer service.