The Low Down On Supplement β-alanine

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This supplement is all the rage in the fitness industry, but it’s a secrete because no one actually knows that there taking it. If you have ever taken supplements like XPLODE or the very famous but dangerous Pre workout stimulants, you have noticed your skin tingles afterward?

Well low and behold, that’s the β-alanine working. β-alanine is an amino acid that is synthesised in the body but also found in animal products like chicken breast meat and fish. β-alanine is the limiting factor in the formation of the dipeptide carnosine which, has the capacity to buffer hydrogen ions produced during high intensity exercise.

If you’re an athlete you should read on, because buffering hydrogen ions is a good thing. When you exercise the muscles as a by-product to energy production produces lactic acid, that’s full of hydrogen ions. By buffering this it means you won’t fatigue as quickly.

Fatigue is the number one thing during exercise that causes you to slow down. β-alanine and performance research suggests that supplementation with 5-6g β-alanine per day can increase muscle carnosine levels 
by ~80% over 10 weeks of supplementation. Carnosine acts as a buffer for these h+ ions “soaking” them up to regulate muscle acidity levels and improve fatigue resistance. This improved buffering capacity may then increase training capacity and performance. Athletes that may benefit from β-alanine supplementation are those involved high intensity bouts of exercise such as:

  • Short (1-7 minutes), and sustained high intensity sports like; 
rowing, track cycling, swimming, middle distance running
  • Sports that involve a type of interval high intensity sessions of 
exercise like; resistance training, foot ball, tennis or basketball.

β-alanine supplementation may also be beneficial for improving competition performance by enhancing training capacity and adaptations. In order  to muscle carnosine stores 3.2g/day is needed for 4 weeks to see an effect. Try to take it with meals for better uptake.The only side effects include skin tingling but this can be reduced with split dosing for example 1.6g per dose taken ~3-4 hours apart. Personally I have never tried this, but I think if you’re doing an elite level of sports it may be something worth considering. If you know anyone who may benefit from this article please share away!

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