Beta Alanine: What are we looking at?
Beta Alanine is a modified form of Alanine, a naturally occurring amino acid.
This amino acid is deemed nonessential. This is due to is ability to be synthesised in the body through sufficient consumption of relative compounds. However, research on alanine, specifically beta-alanine, has shown significant improvements in muscle capacity, increases in physical performance and recovery assistance. A study from “Medicine and science in sport and exercise” gives merit to these claims. The study indicates that the improvements were seen as a result of the increase in carnosine in the body. Carnosine is a molecule responsible for muscular contraction.
Where to find it?
As mentioned, alanine is deemed nonessential. It is ‘non-essential’ due to natural synthesisation in the body. Beta alanine can be derived from adequate food intake. Alanine occurs naturally in semi-rich doses within meat and bean products. Fish, lean beef, chicken and soybeans being some of the more note worthy.
Consumption of this amino acid through the means of food is a valid consideration. However, it should be recognised that it would likely be difficult to regularly consume the necessary foods in sufficient quantities to achieve the clinical dose necessary to elicit a noticeable benefit. Hence the importance of supplementation of a raw amino acid or product containing adequate amounts.
What can you expect from its use?
Through increasing beta-alanine saturation in the body higher concentrations of carnosine can be yielded aiding with the following:
- Neutralising negatively charged hydrogen ions thus:
- Buffer for acidity
- Better response to drops in Ph
- Protect against pH drops (experienced from ketone production in ketosis)
- Offer protection against exercise-induced lactic acid production thus:
- Prolonging exercise/training
- Assisting with maintaining higher exercise intensity/duration
- Recovery between bouts of exercise
- Increased physical performance within a 60-240 second parameter
When talking about proper supplementation of beta-alanine for the purposes of health, performance and recovery its suggested that a dose of 2-5g daily. Beta-alanine is often present in selected pre-workouts but to an insufficient dose hence the recommendation to source and additional dose or dose up your stack with a raw product. Its also assumed due to is presence in these products that timing is relevant however saturation within the body is the defining factor for this product much like that of creatine, hence consumption timing isn’t relevant to product efficiency or effectiveness.
It should be mentioned that in a high enough dose some experience what is called paresthesia a sensation of skin tingling. This is a harmless side effect but has been known to cause some discomfort, it can be avoided through taking smaller doses (<1g at a time) more regularly throughout the day however a tolerance to this sensation is quickly adapted for those supplementing regularly.
Beta-Alanine stacks very well is creatine (suggested Creatine Monohydrate) if you are unaware of its benefits read our other article on creatine supplementation.
Supplementation of taurine at the same time as Beta-Alanine is not suggested as the two may compete for uptake thus reducing the potential for adequate and beneficial utilisation.
References for further investigation/light reading:
- Role of beta alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance; 2010, GG Artioli et al; Medicine & Science in sports & exercise.
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