Beta alanine can improve performance and reduce fatigue. It can help you push harder in your workouts. Read more about how to use Beta alanine.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BETA-ALANINE
Working out is the key. And the best way to have a good workout is with the help of pre-workout supplements. These are bodybuilding supplements that contain ingredients that can give a boost of energy. A famous pre-workout supplement is beta-alanine. While many people use it, not many are aware of the intricate details concerned with this substance. Let us have an in-depth look into what exactly is beta-alanine.
What is beta-alanine?
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid, which can help to reduce fatigue in muscles. The IUPAC name for beta-alanine is 3-aminopropanoic acid. It is produced in the liver. Research shows that it can increase the levels of carnosine in the muscles, making it one of the rate-limiting precursors to carnosine synthesis. Carnosine is naturally found in the body and it helps to improve muscle strength and exercise performance. Yet, directly supplementing carnosine is not as effective as using beta-alanine for the same result. Beta-alanine does this in a better way through reduction of fatigue and increasing the total muscular work done. Reference: 1, 2
What does beta-alanine do?
Beta-Alanine is taken during an intense workout session to combat the build-up of acid in the body. It increases the concentration of this element in the body. It can improve the workout for better performance.
Mostly, it is used for a workout that spans over a few minutes. It is more effective for long-term endurance exercises. Reference: 3
While other amino acids are used for protein synthesis, beta-alanine performs a different function by aiding carnosine synthesis. Usually, the histidine levels in the muscles stay high and beta-alanine levels are low, which means carnosine production is also less. Supplementing beta-alanine increases this carnosine production.
Glucose breakdown occurs and releases the energy required for workouts during exercise. This glucose is broken down to release lactic acid and then converted to lactate. The hydrogen ions in lactate make the muscles more acidic which causes fatigue. Carnosine acts as a buffer to this fatigue caused by acidity. This is the main way beta-alanine works. Reference: 4
Beta-alanine as a pre-workout supplement
Beta-alanine is a commonly used pre-workout supplement as it can improve athletic performance and increase endurance. It does this by:
- Increasing time to exhaustion: Time to Exhaustion (TTE) and time-to-failure is the time remaining for a body to get exhausted if persisting in the current pace of work. When this time gets increased, the body can endure for longer and work out more.
- Better short-duration workouts: Usually when muscles turn acidic, they affect the duration of the exercise. Beta-alanine works to increase power during shorter-duration exercise by several minutes.
What is the prescribed beta-alanine dosage?
The generally prescribed dose of beta-alanine is 2-5 grams daily and no more than that. Do note that increased doses of beta-alanine will not mean you can train more. It just builds up endurance, not strength.
Beta-alanine can be taken as a supplement, usually as beta-alanine powder, or there are food items rich in it. Consumption of beta-alanine along with a meal can boost its effectiveness, say experts.
The following food items are good sources of beta-alanine.
- Meat: Such as lean beef and other red meat contains ample amount of beta-alanine.
- Fish: Yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, all contain high amounts of beta-alanine in them.
- Poultry: like white meat like that found in chicken breasts or turkey is best. A single cup of roasted chicken breast or turkey contains around 2 grams of beta-alanine.,
- Soybeans: Roasted soybeans or soy nuts contain around 3 grams of beta-alanine per serving.
Benefits of beta-alanine
The benefits of beta-alanine will be visible overnight; they are cumulative. Studies show that beta-alanine benefits short duration exercise more than longer duration ones. A study showed that beta-alanine supplementation increased the time-to-exhaustion by 19% during high-intensity training sessions (HIITs). Another study proved that people who supplemented with beta-alanine could run faster than those who didn’t. It can boost training volume and reduce fatigue in resistance training. For adults, beta-alanine can also help to increase muscle endurance. It is also proven to increase body composition such as increasing lean muscle mass. More studies need to be done but the preliminary research looks promising. Apart from these benefits, beta-alanine also has antioxidant, anti-ageing and immune-enhancing properties because of carnosine. The antioxidant properties can be used to reduce oxidative stress. It can also help in improving heart health and increase the muscle quality. Reference: 5, 6
Side effects of beta-alanine
Beta-alanine can cause a side effect, commonly described as a ‘tingling’ sensation in the skin, in excess doses. It is called paraesthesia, usually experienced in the face, neck and back of the hands. It can also cause a burning, itching, or flushed feeling on the scalp or ears. Research points out that the effect is probably caused due to beta-alanine affecting the central nervous system, where some nerves come under stress due to the extra supplementation. Though research is still going on regarding what causes this unusual sensation, all agree that the effect is directly proportional to the dosage of beta-alanine. The larger the dosage of beta-alanine, the more intense tingling will be. A possible solution to keep the effect at bay is by taking smaller doses of beta-alanine every time, say 800 mg.
The sensation is experienced differently by different individuals. While some might recover after half an hour, some may have it for longer. Another way to combat tingling is by taking beta-alanine with food. Tablets of beta-alanine, rather than powder can reduce the tingling effect in a better way. Reference: 7
Yet another possible side effect is the reduction in taurine levels. Taurine works as a neuromodulator and antioxidant. Taurine also works to prevent muscle cramping. Beta-alanine is a taurine transporter inhibitor because both taurine and beta-alanine compete with each other to get absorbed by the muscles.
Hope this gives a complete guide to everything you need to know about beta-alanine and its benefits. After creatine, beta-alanine is widely touted to be the best performance-enhancing product in the market right now. Keep in mind that any product is only as good as the hard work that goes along with it. So train hard, and stay fit!