What you will learn...
Beta-alanine effectiveness is backed by a major university and peer-reviewed studies, which did show that athletes undergoing intense anaerobic exercise can dull the effects of acid build-up in the muscles by taking a simple amino acid supplement called Beta-alanine.
This Beta-Alanine was observed to decreases fatigue and increases the total work output of muscles.
Muscle carnosine has been reported to serve as a physiological shield that possesses antioxidant properties, influence enzyme regulation, and affect sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium regulation.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid, and its supplementation (e.g., 2-6 grams/day) has been shown to increase carnosine concentrations in skeletal muscle by 20-80%.
Several studies have reported that Beta-Alanine supplementation can increase high-intensity irregular exercise performance and training adaptations, and, although the specific mechanism remains to be determined, the ergogenic of Beta-Alanine has been most commonly attributed to an increased muscle shielding capacity.
Dietary supplements that contain pure beta-alanine can help to increase carnosine levels inside muscle tissues and can counteract the effects of lactic acid, which is produced in muscles during intense exercise sessions.
Furthermore, Carnosine is a proton buffer that helps to maintain optimal pH levels in muscle tissue, thereby inhibiting the onset of muscle fatigue and the burning sensation that we experience during anaerobic metabolism.
This prolongs endurance and boosts muscle contractility, results in improvements in stamina, power output, and muscle building.
This being the reason athletes and others use beta-alanine powder and capsules to improve physical performance markers.
Clinical Studies with Beta-Alanine
Research has shown that pure beta-alanine administration increases intramuscular carnosine levels speedily and meaningfully.
In a 10-week human trial, muscle carnosine concentration was observed to increase by more than 80% with daily supplementation of Beta-Alanine.
Fatigue during high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting is linked to acid (hydrogen ion) build-up in the muscles and blood.
This build-up is usually the burning sensation one feels following a hard bout of exercise, and the muscles experience a reduction in work capacity when acid levels get too high.
Thus, increasing carnosine will reduce acid build-up, delay fatigue, and increase muscle performance.
Carnosine is made from L-histidine and beta-alanine, both being amino acids.
Beta-alanine is made by our bodies and can be obtained in the diet.
Beta-alanine (3-amino propionic acid) is a nonessential amino acid that our bodies synthesize and can also be gained from certain food sources. It may also be taken as a dietary supplement.
The primary role of this beta-alanine is to provide the raw material needed for the synthesis of carnosine.
Beta-Alanine Boosts Carnosine
Muscle is not able to take up carnosine directly because it is chiefly destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract, and that is why researchers have focused on its precursor, which is beta-alanine since it can be directly taken up by muscle and then converted to carnosine.
In a study, being one of many, the optimal dose of beta-alanine to elevate blood levels without side effects was determined to be 10 mg per kilogram body weight.
Later studies examined the effects of supplementing with 800 mg of beta-alanine given many times in a day. Following four weeks of testing with supplementation, it was determined that muscle carnosine levels were significantly elevated by as much as 66%.
In another similar study, Belgium researchers supplemented a known athlete with 4.8g of beta-alanine per day divided into six equal doses of 800 mg, and after four weeks, it was observed that muscle carnosine in the calf was increased by 47%.
In these studies, even subjects who started with very high levels of muscle carnosine experienced a significant increase, suggesting that there is no ceiling effect.
The rises in muscle carnosine mainly occur in the fast-twitch muscle fibers that are the high-force producing fibers that also produce the most acid.
Beta-Alanine – Ideal for Weight Training
Beta-alanine primarily works for high-intensity anaerobic exercise such as weight lifting but has not been shown to increase maximal strength or improve aerobic activity since these two types of exercises are not limited by acid build-up.
Other researchers have examined the performance and have shown that improvements with beta-alanine are most commonly observed during anaerobic exercise that increases acid.
Such exercises as multiple bouts of high-intensity, short-duration activity, and single bouts of high-intensity exercise lasting more than 60 seconds. This makes Beta-Alanine ideal for high-volume, multi-set weight training.
Another observable benefit is that Beta-alanine plus creatine increased lean mass and reduced body fat.
Some studies have combined beta-alanine with creatine, and in one of such where three groups of healthy strength athletes were randomized into a placebo group, a creatine group, and a creatine plus beta-alanine group.
Supplements were consumed in divided doses twice per day for 10 weeks, as the groups performed a 10-week resistance training program.
It was seen that the creatine/beta-alanine combination group experienced the greatest increases in lean body mass compared to placebo, and also had the greatest reduction in percent body fat compared to placebo.
Multiple human trials have shown the following as benefits associated with the routine administration of pure beta-alanine supplements:
- Reduced muscle fatigue,
- Increased total work completed,
- Increased ventilatory threshold,
- Increased time-to-exhaustion and
- Other performance improvements have been observed.
In one double-blind study involving 37 college football players and wrestlers, pure beta-alanine was tested for it anaerobic performance-enhancing potential, and after 8 weeks, treatment group subjects demonstrated improvements in flexed-arm hang and the 300-yard shuttle run exercises.
Improvements to body composition were also noted, including increased lean mass ratios, which may be an indirect improvement as a result of increased exercise capacity.