What is Beta-Alanine?
Beta-alanine is non-essential Amino Acid found naturally in both foods and in your body. As a non-essential Amino Acid your body can produce adequate
A simple organic compound consisting of both a carboxyl and an amino group
amounts for general health. But if you want to improve your athletic performance, supplementing with beta-alanine may be just what you need.
When taken as a pre-workout supplement, beta-alanine can help you increase strength, power, and endurance. Because beta-alanine allows you to perform more reps and use heavier weights, it can help you to experience greater gains in strength and mass in less time.
How Does Beta-Alanine Work?
When you take a beta-alanine supplement it combines with histidine (another amino acid) in the body thus increasing the dipeptide Carnosine. Carnosine is important because it helps keep your muscle from becoming too acidic which can lead to muscular fatigue.
A dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. It is highly concentrated in muscle and brain tissues.
Research has shown that supplementing with beta-alanine during exercise can improve intramuscular Carnosine contractions. This leads to greater energy levels, higher endurance, and improved athletic performance.
Within as little as two weeks you should start to notice results from supplementing with beta-alanine. About three weeks after you end your beta-alanine cycle, you may notice that the results are not as apparent anymore. That’s generally the time beta-alanine users begin a new cycle.
How Much Beta-Alanine Do You Need?
Recommendations have typically been to take between 3.2 and 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day. However, more recent research indicates that just 4-5 grams per day produces comparable results.
Many users prefer to load beta-alanine by taking 6 grams a day for the first month and tapering off to a 3 or 4 gram daily beta-alanine dose thereafter.
In a study published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, beta-alanine supplementation combined with HIIT (high intensity interval training) produced significant results in body composition and performance. Beta-alanine users increased their lean muscle mass compared to no change in the placebo group. In addition their physical performance improved .
Another study published by Nutrition Research demonstrated the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on fatigue. In this study college football players who supplemented with beta-alanine were able to perform for longer without feeling fatigued during practice .
Is Beta-Alanine Safe?
Yes! Studies have shown that supplementing with beta-alanine for up to 12 weeks at a time is completely safe. Since the effects are not yet known with longer-term supplementation, it’s recommended that you keep your beta-alanine cycle to 12 weeks or less.
Some beta-alanine users report a tingling sensation in the body when using beta-alanine. This is because the nerves under the skin are being stimulated and is similar to the niacin flush. For most users, it’s not something to worry about.
Beta-Alanine and Creatine
Recent studies have highlighted the potential benefits of combining creatine and beta-alanine. Users of both supplements have reported more significant gains in lean muscle mass and lower body fat than those using either creatine or beta-alanine alone.
These results are even more apparent among users who are experienced lifters. In fact, a study of this combination showed that those using beta-alanine and creatine experienced greater improvements in their neuromuscular fatigue threshold . They also gained more lean muscle, lost body fat, and experienced an increase in testosterone levels.
- Smith et al (2009). Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(5). DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-5
- Hoffman et al (2008). Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutrition Research 28(1); 31-35.
- Hoffman et al (2006). Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 16(4); 430-446.
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