How Does Beta Alanine Work? Results of Research Studies
Table of Contents
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid which science has shown to help push you past your usual threshold in the gym.
The amino acid is so powerful because it is converted into carnosine, a dipeptide that helps to reduce that fatiguing acid build up in your muscles when you are strength training.
Beta-alanine is a supplement that actually lives up to its claims on efficacy, as it is backed by major university, peer-reviewed studies performed on humans, not the typical cell or rat studies upon which many supplement makers generally base their claims on.
Human research has shown that unchanging administration of beta alanine can reduce muscular fatigue, increase training volume and improve certain other markers of athletic performance.
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Also, by improving workout energy and allowing bodybuilders to train harder before getting fatigued, Beta alanine may also support increased muscle mass gains. It can also be used to improve physical activity capacities in elderly people.
Benefits of Beta Alanine
Over the past ten years, beta-alanine has grown to become one of the most popular sports nutrition ingredients in the market, and according to Wise Guy Reports, the global beta-alanine market was worth 58 million dollars in 2015 and is projected to grow at a rate of 4.65% for the next 5 years. Below is a list of the benefits of beta-alanine, as buttressed by scientific studies:
- Boosts tense muscular strength and power output.
- Increases muscle mass.
- Enhance muscular anaerobic endurance, and aerobic endurance.
- Increases exercise capacity, allowing you to train harder and longer.
Beta Alanine for Bodybuilding
Beta alanine does work for improving some indicators of body building. Improvements have been prominent on fat mass, lean mass, muscular endurance and physical fatigue.
One double-blind study, involving 20 college football players, where 4.5-gram doses of beta alanine were administered daily for one month, gave the result of increase in training volume and decrease in subjective feelings of fatigue.
The results included significant raise in training volume on the bench press, and the human participants reported significantly less feelings of fatigue as well. When fatigue markers were quantified with a Wingate test however, findings only suggested a decrease.
Beta Alanine for Athletes
Long distance runners sometimes used Beta Alanine to improve stamina and endurance and to reduce muscle fatigue on middle or long distance races.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study done in 2010, beta alanine effects were studied in seventeen physically active men, who were between the ages of 20 and 29 years.
Control and treatment group subjects participated in treadmill tests before and after a 28-day period.
The results showed increased endurance in submaximal physical activity, and this effect is believed to be secondary to reduced serum accumulations of lactate in the muscle tissues.
Also, the treatment group VO2max levels were found to be significantly reduced during the study. VO2max is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen consumed during a session of incremental exercise.
How Does Beta Alanine Work?
Carnosine is a dipeptide that is comprised of beta alanine and L-histidine, and dipeptides are compounds formed by the union of two amino acids. Beta alanine effects inside the body are interrelated to increased carnosine synthesis.
It is believed that in order for muscles to contract effectively, proper pH balance is needed (pH is a logarithmic measurement of the inverse of activity of hydrogen ions (H+) in solutions). pH determines the acidity or alkalinity of a given medium or solution.
The mechanism is that when muscle tissues are too acidic, they lose their capacities to function efficiently, and become fatigued, resulting in the burning sensation felt when exercising intensely for long periods of time. This is caused by this build-up of acidity or H+ in muscles.
When the muscles break down energy sources like glucose as fuel for work, positively charged hydrogen ions are released as byproducts of such reactions.
When these H+ build up and pass certain concentrations or level, muscular burning followed by muscular failure result. This is an indication that pH has dropped too much and needs to be enhanced.
Beta alanine works to increase intramuscular carnosine levels, especially in type 2 fast twitch fibers of the muscular system. Carnosine acts to reduce accumulations of hydrogen ions (H+) inside the muscles and buffers against the effects of acid accumulation.
This helps to maintain optimal pH levels, subsequently leading to reduction in fatigue, improving contractile capacities and enhancing overall training success.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that beta alanine does not produce results immediately and may take up to two weeks before effects are manifested.
In many beta alanine reviews, it was agreed upon that daily usage of Beta Alanine for a minimum of 2 weeks has been proven to advance certain markers of exercise performance, for body builders, athletes, and even elderly individuals.
However, this is based on daily intake between 4 and 6 grams, and the most pronounced observed effects of beta alanine were observed in timed exercise bouts lasting between 1 and 5 minutes.