Whether you are a professional athlete gearing up for a competition, or a fitness enthusiast, you know very well that you need to work extra hard to achieve that success. An extra set, lift, rep, or workout could be the only difference between you and your success. How about something that helps increase your time to exhaustion so that you put in that extra rep? Beta-alanine supplements have grown in popularity as a performance ingredient that helps boost physical performance. So, what is it, and how can you use it to advance your athletic performance?
What is beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid that occurs in the body, but it is also found in food products such as fish, beef, poultry, and pork.
What does it do?
Beta-alanine in the body combines with another amino acid known as histidine to form a dipeptide called carnosine. Carnosine stays in the skeletal muscles, and one of its primary roles is to buffer PH levels in the muscles.
Whenever you exercise, hydrogen ions build up, lowering the muscle environment’s PH levels, leading to muscle fatigue. That is why you are likely to experience a burning sensation while doing exercises which causes you to stop. It is usually a drop in PH in the muscles that causes fatigue.
Beta-alanine, the building block of carnosine, is lower in the muscles, but histidine levels are higher. So supplementing beta-alanine leads to more carnosine levels in the body.
Are beta-alanine supplements effective?
According to research, beta-alanine supplements are an effective way to boost your carnosine levels. During intensive exercises, lactic acid builds up in the muscles, lowers their PH leading to muscle fatigue. Beta-alanine enhances the synthesis of carnosine hence boosts lactic acid buffering. Some of the benefits of beta-alanine supplements include:
- Improves the training volume in athletes.
- Enhances muscle endurance.
- It helps you fight muscle fatigue.
- Boosts lean muscle mass.
According to one study, beta-alanine supplementation with 6.4gms daily increased power output in athletics training at their 1rep maximum. That means beta-alanine is effective in increasing work output in high-intensity exercises.
What is the correct beta-alanine dosage?
Depending on the available clinical studies for beta-alanine supplements, 3.2-6.4gms daily of beta-alanine during training and non-training periods was found to be beneficial. Like any other supplement, the benefits of beta-alanine start to show once you have reached a saturation point, so consistency is critical.
Does beta-alanine interfere with human growth hormones?
This is a common question when people come across beta-alanine supplements. Researchers conducted a study to assess the interaction between beta-alanine, hormones, and exercise. The hormone levels of subjects supplementing daily with 4.8gms of beta-alanine supplements were measured after 30days. Beta-alanine was found to boost muscle endurance without interfering with cortisol, testosterone, or human growth hormone.
What are the side effects of beta-alanine supplements?
Some people experience a harmless tingling sensation after supplementing with beta-alanine. It is known as paresthesia, and it is the only reported side effect. Most people experience it within 10-20minutes of taking the supplement, and it goes away within an hour.
To reduce this side effect, it is best to split your beta-alanine supplement into smaller dosages throughout the day. You should also stick to the patented form of beta-alanine.