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Everything You Need to Know About Beta-Alanine

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Last Updated on September 8, 2021

What’s Special About Beta Alanine?

  • Improves High-Intensity Exercise
  • Delays Neuromuscular Fatigue
  • Improves Endurance Performance
  • Extends time-till Exhaustion
  • Increases Muscle Carnosine

What is Carnosine?

Before you understand Beta-Alanine and why it’s beneficial, you first need to understand Carnosine (known as the link to longevity). Your body makes Beta-alanine internally when your body breaks down carnosine.

Carnosine: “A dipeptide, carnosine (β-alanine-L-histidine), was identified as an exercise enhancer and has been widely used in sports with the aim of improving physical performance and muscle gain. Carnosine has been shown to favourably affect energy and calcium metabolism, and reduce lactate accumulation.”PMC

Carnosine: (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) is a dipeptide molecule, made up of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. 

As you age, you lose muscle mass and your carnosine levels drop.

Benefits of Carnosine:

  • Acts as an antioxidant by scavanging free radicals. “Free Radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules. Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body because they react so easily with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation.” –Healthline
  • Delays the shortening of telomeres. Telomere length shortens with age. Progressive shortening of telomeres leads to senescence, apoptosis, or oncogenic transformation of somatic cells, affecting the health and lifespan of an individual. Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival.”PMC
  • Mitochondria are responsible for generating energy in your body. Carnosine supports healthy mitochondria.
  • Suppresses harmful protein-crosslinking by binding to a protein and sparing other important proteins. “Crosslinking is the general term for the process of forming covalent bonds or relatively short sequences of chemical bonds to join two polymer chains together.” – Wikipedia

Why not supplement with Carnosine (if it’s so great)?

“The rate-limiting factor of carnosine synthesis is beta-alanine availability. Supplementation with beta-alanine has been shown to increase muscle carnosine content and therefore total muscle buffer capacity, with the potential to elicit improvements in physical performance during high-intensity exercise.”PubMed

Benefits of Carnosine
Endurance Pre-Workout Electrolytes

Beta-Alanine Performance Enhancement

Studies on beta-alanine supplementation and exercise performance have demonstrated improvements in performance during multiple bouts of high-intensity exercise and in single bouts of exercise lasting more than 60 s. Similarly, beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to delay the onset of neuromuscular fatigue. Although beta-alanine does not improve maximal strength or VO2max, some aspects of endurance performance, such as anaerobic threshold and time to exhaustion, can be enhanced.”PubMed

Benefits Overview

  • Improves High-Intensity Exercise
  • Delays Neuromuscular Fatigue
  • Improves Endurance Performance
  • Extends time-till Exhaustion
Beta-Alanine Performance Enhancement

Frequently Asked Questions


Where does Beta Alanine come from?

You can create it endogenously in the liver. However, typical supplementation is derived from: βAlanine ethyl ester is the ethyl ester which hydrolyses within the body to form βalanine. It is produced industrially by the reaction of ammonia with β-propiolactone.”Wikipedia

Beta Alanine

What’s the position of the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutirition)?

“The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) provides an objective and critical review of the mechanisms and use of beta-alanine supplementation. Based on the current available literature, the conclusions of the ISSN are as follows: 1) Four weeks of beta-alanine supplementation (4–6 g daily) significantly augments muscle carnosine concentrations, thereby acting as an intracellular pH buffer”NCBI

Is it safe? Are there side effects?

“Beta-alanine supplementation currently appears to be safe in healthy populations at recommended doses. The only reported side effect is paraesthesia (tingling), but studies indicate this can be attenuated by using divided lower doses (1.6 g) or using a sustained-release formula” – NCBI

When does it start working?

It typically takes a number of weeks (at least 2 weeks) for betaalanine supplementation to yield meaningful increases in muscle carnosine content. However, you will feel the tingle within a few minutes of taking your first serving. Results in the gym are evident from day one too.

WHAT BETA-ALANINE is to me: an upgraded motor, high octane gas, new air filters and tires. Vrrrrroom

When do I take it?

A few minutes before you workout. You can also take it throughout the day in small doses if the tingle feeling is uncomfortable.

How long does the tingle last?

For me, it dissipates as I start to work out. Generally speaking, 30 minutes. However, for some it may tingle for up to an hour. Again, the tingle isn’t a side effect you should be worried about. It’s harmless.

Is it okay for youth?

IMO there’s no reason to give kids Beta Alanine. However, if you have teenagers that are working out, by all means. As of this writing my son is 13 and we work out together, he takes it with me.

As with this entire post: this content is for informational purposes only. For personalized medical advice, that’s your responsibility (this is NOT meant to be personalized medical advice).

Cows

Are there foods that contain Beta-Alanine?

Vegetarians and vegans have about 50% less carnosine in their muscles compared to omnivores (source). This would indicate diet plays a dramatic role in carnonsine availability.

“Carnosine is naturally produced by the body in the liver from beta-alanine and histidine. Like carnitine, carnosine is composed of the root word carn, meaning “flesh”, alluding to its prevalence in meat. There are no plant-based sources of carnosine, however synthetic supplements do exist.”Wikipedia

SIDE NOTE: I eat ruminant meat every day, it’s my “multivitamin”. More on that here.

Should I take Beta Alanine every day?

Yes, dose every day—even on non-workout days. The concentration of muscle carnosine builds over time. It’s doing more than just improving workouts!

What’s the best supplement to take?

We’ve just launched our Endurance Electrolytes. It’s the perfect blend of essential electrolytes and pure Beta-Alanine. It’s called Endurance and it’s available now.

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