Beta-alanine, classified as a non-essential amino acid, is the beta form of the amino acid alanine. It’s currently a popular choice amongst athletes and gym goers who are looking for a competitive edge – to help them make the most of their training, due to its capacity as a lactic acid buffer, helping you train harder for longer. Any pre-workout formulation worth its salt, like ELEVATE™, includes beta-alanine.
How does Beta Alanine work?
Beta-alanine passes from the bloodstream into skeletal muscle. Here it binds with the essential amino acid L-Histidine, through a process called carnosine synthesis, to create the dipeptide carnosine.
An increase in muscle carnosine levels is linked to the maintenance of muscle pH balance which in turn helps your muscles to maintain proper function. Without the presence of beta-alanine to increase carnosine levels, the build-up of hydrogen ions during intensive exercise would result in a drop in muscle pH (and eventual lactic acid build up), affecting processes such as muscle contraction, eventually reducing your ability to perform optimally.
Why should I take it?
If you take part in a sport that includes bouts of explosive high-intensity action like sprinting and CrossFit, or endurance based activities like competing in a triathlon, beta-alanine has been shown to increase resistance to fatigue – more so in the former activity. It does this by helping to increase carnosine levels, which acts as a buffer to hydrogen ions which build up as our muscles get tired. As such, it is suitable for anyone looking to increase performance capacity and output while they train.
When should I take it?
Beta-alanine is a popular component of pre-workout formulas. Supplementation of beta-alanine therefore, is very popular at the beginning of a workout. However, the performance benefits of beta-alanine are linked directly to muscle carnosine levels as a whole, so the time of day you consume it is less important than simply making sure you consume enough each day to increase these levels overall.
How much should I take?
Research suggests that taking approximately 3 – 6g of beta-alanine per day can significantly boost muscle carnosine levels – leading to a potential increase in performance. There is no evidence to suggest that increasing this dosage leads to greater levels of carnosine in the short-term. Levels of carnosine increase exponentially over time.
What supplements work well when paired with Beta-Alanine?
Supplementing with Creatine is known to increase ATP stores which enables us to train at a higher-intensity for short bursts. Combined with Beta-Alanine, you’ll be able to train at high intensity, more frequently, before reaching a point of fatigue.
Whilst their effects are similar (a reduction in fatigue), the mechanics behind how Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine work are very different.
Citrulline Malate is shown to increase nitric oxide production. This increase in NO improves the efficiency of blood flow to muscles during exercise, allowing for greater resistance under stress – as well as transporting nutrients to muscle tissue when they need it most.
If you’ve ever taken a product and experienced a ‘tingling’ sensation, the chances are this product contained beta-alanine. This sensation is a common, harmless side-effect called paresthesia. Some people are more aware of this sensation than others, but provided an excessive amount of beta-alanine isn’t taken, this feeling should subside within an hour.
If you’re serious about taking your training to the next level, why not add Beta Alanine to your supplement mix and see how it impacts your overall output and recovery?