Beta-Alanine for Fatigue, Endurance and Lean Muscle Mass. I Bet You Didn’t Know All These
Table of Contents
For many years, beta-alanine has been one of the most popular supplements sold on the market that is most widely known for decreasing muscle fatigue, increases endurance and strength gains, as well as assist in weight loss, for those who take it. Beta-Alanine for Fatigue is nothing new.
It is a naturally occurring non-essential beta amino acid, and should not be confused with alanine, as they are separate amino acids that serve different purposes.
Beta-alanine is scientifically called 3-aminopropanoic acid, and the best natural dietary sources of beta-alanine are said to be obtained simply by ingesting it.
Thus, the coolest method to ingest beta-alanine is by supplementing with a beta-alanine product. Along with histidine, beta alanine forms the dipeptide carnosine, which is a molecule that the body uses to buffer acids in muscle tissues. Carnosine also possesses certain antioxidant and antiaging properties of its own.
Beta-Alanine Delays Muscle Fatigue
Fatigue can be defined as a protracted lack of mental and/or physical energy for performing tasks. Vigor seems limited and motivation may be lacking for various reasons, and using stimulants, like caffeine and cocaine, is not recommended as a long-term approach to fixing the issue of low energy or fatigue.
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Researches has shown that athletes undergoing intense anaerobic exercise can blunt the effects of acid build-up in the muscles by taking a simple amino acid supplement called beta-alanine, as this amino acid helps decreases fatigue and increases the total work output of the muscles.
That means that you can lift more weights and run or ride a bike farther before you hit your threshold.
Most recently, scientists began studying the effects of beta-alanine on physical performance and lean body mass, and the ongoing research has shown how to properly use beta-alanine as a direct supplement safely and effectively to maximize its benefits.
Taking beta-alanine has been shown to delay fatigue during exercise as well as boost your endurance, strength gains and performance during physical activities like workouts or training.
Some of the benefits include:
- Increase in muscular strength and power output
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Increases in muscular anaerobic endurance
- Increases in aerobic endurance
- Escalation in exercise capacity, allowing you train harder and longer
- Delays muscular fatigue
Beta Alanine and Carnosine
Muscle contains significant quantities of a substance called carnosine, which works by preventing muscle acid build-up. Carnosine is a very important buffer that helps to maintain a normal balance of acidity in muscles.
Fatigue during high-intensity exercise is linked to acid (hydrogen ion) build-up in the muscles and blood. This build-up results in the burning sensation you may feel at the end of an intense exercise. The muscles work capacity is reduced when acid levels get too high, thus, increasing carnosine concentration may delay fatigue in the muscles, and increase performance.
Carnosine is made from L-histidine and beta-alanine, both of which are amino acids. Beta-alanine is made by our bodies and can also be obtained in the diet.
The reason beta-alanine very important than previously thought is that it is rate-limiting in the production of carnosine levels in muscles.
Muscle is not able to take up carnosine directly because it is chiefly destroyed in the gastrointestinal tracts, and that is the reason why researchers have focused on its precursor, beta-alanine, which is directly taken up by muscle and then converted to carnosine.
In one study, the optimal dose of beta-alanine to elevate blood levels without side effects was determined to be 10 mg per kilogram body weight, but subsequent studies examined the effects of supplementing with 800 mg of beta-alanine administered multiple times daily.
After four weeks of supplementation, it was seen that muscle carnosine levels were significantly elevated by as much as 66%.
In another study done at Belgium, researchers supplemented elite 400-meter sprinters with 4.8g of beta-alanine, divided into six equal doses of 800 mg per day. After a month, muscle carnosine in the calf was increased by 47%.
Beta-Alanine for Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance can be defined as the ability of the muscle tissue to utilize itself continuously through a set of exercise movements. In clinical trials, when muscular endurance is increased, anti-fatigue effects are believed to be the cause, and research has shown that beta-alanine supplementation increases muscular endurance.
Beta-alanine can also help to improve medium-to-high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance, as it has been noticed that supplementing the diet with beta-alanine improves athletic performance in the 1-4 minute range.
Beta-Alanine and Lean Mass
Lean mass can be defined as the total mass of the body, when you remove the fat mass. This mass mostly consists of muscle tissue, energy storage, bones, organs, the brain and water content.
Being that the brain, bones and organs do not change often, alterations in lean mass are believed to be caused by changes in muscle, glycogen storage and water content.
In one double-blind 8-week trial, 37 participants, all of which were collegiate football players or wrestlers, were monitored. 4-gram daily doses of beta alanine was recorded to improve performance in flexed-arm hanging and shuttle run exercises. Improvements to body composition were also seen, including decreases in fat mass of the body.
Beta-Alanine, Creatine and Sodium Bicarbonate
Creatine is a molecule known for its capacity to rapidly create adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This ATP is the body’s main energy form, and increasing ATP supports cellular functioning on several levels.
Creatine has been found to improve performance factors and to protect neuro-degeneration. Beta-alanine works well in combination with creatine, to potentially add to its sports performance-enhancing effects.
On the other hand, Sodium bicarbonate is better known as baking soda, and has also been explored for its potentials to buffer Hydrogen ions in the body.
Its function and mechanism of action in this regard are comparable to those of beta-alanine, since both substances are believed to induce anti-fatigue effects.
Thus, conjunctive usage of beta alanine, and Sodium bicarbonate may add to their pharmacologic effects.