What you will learn...
Beta-alanine is technically a non-essential beta-amino acid that has quickly become anything but non-essential in the worlds of sport, performance nutrition, and bodybuilding.
Its trademarked name is CarnoSyn and is known to raise muscle carnosine levels and increase the amount of work you can perform at high intensities.
The Compound, Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine or 3-amino propionic acid is a natural beta-amino acid and a component of the histidine dipeptides carnosine and anserine, as well as vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid.
Beta-alanine can be seen as a hybrid between the potent neurotransmitters L-glycine and GABA, which may be the reason why consumers often claim to experience a caffeine-like response from it.
Beta-alanine also gaining support within the scientific world for being secondarily categorized as a neurotransmitter.
The body can produce beta-alanine in three ways:
- It can be released during the breakdown of histidine dipeptides, such as carnosine or anserine.
- It can be formed as a secondary byproduct of a reaction that converts L-alanine to pyruvate.
- Finally, beta-alanine can be formed during digestion, when intestinal microbes remove a carbon atom from L-aspartate, releasing both beta-alanine and carbon dioxide.
When consumed as a dietary supplement, beta-alanine passes from the bloodstream into skeletal muscle through a beta-alanine and taurine transporter that depends on the availability of both sodium and chloride.
On entering the skeletal muscle cell, it binds with the essential amino acid L-histidine to form the dipeptide carnosine.
Research has shown that a “loading phase” is vital when taking beta-alanine for the purpose of increasing muscle carnosine levels.
It may even take up to 14 days before optimal effects are experienced, and during this loading phase, beta-alanine is usually taken 2 – 4 times a day.
Also, a number of beta-alanine supplement manufacturers recommend that a loading phase be used with this product in order to obtain the best results.
Natural Alternatives International, Inc. (NAI), are the makers of CarnoSyn, which is a specific brand of pure beta-alanine supplements, and they recommend a loading phase to supplementation.
This product has undergone significant clinical research in human trials and has been shown to be effective for the following:
- Increases the buffering capacities of muscles;
- Delays muscle fatigue during training or workouts;
- Improves overall muscle performance;
- Reduces muscle acidosis;
- Improves muscle endurance;
- Boost exercise training;
- Upsurges muscle strength;
NAI recommends a daily dose of 3.2 grams to be taken for at least 4 weeks (Loading phase) in order to safely elevate intramuscular carnosine levels, after which the user may increase the daily dosage up to the full recommended dose.
When to Take Beta-Alanine Supplements
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD) reports that there are 556 dietary supplement products available which contain beta-alanine, and many of these are pre-workout combination products, containing beta-alanine along with creatine, protein powder, branched-chain amino acids, caffeine, minerals, vitamins, and other herbal supplements.
Beta-alanine pre-workout supplements are generally designed to be taken at specific times before exercise sessions, as it does not yield noticeable performance-enhancing effects instantaneously.
Rather, it amasses in the system over time and helps to raise the storage of intramuscular carnosine.
- For Loading Phas, take 6 grams a day for 2-3 weeks. You can continue this amount for 24 weeks for optimal results.
- For the Maintenance Phase, take 1-2 grams daily.
Beta-alanine will keep working for you as long as you are taking it regularly, but will flush out of your muscles and stop working after you stop taking it for about a month.
If you are using a beta-alanine pre-workout supplement, then it is important that you follow the manufacturer’s dosage recommendations closely.
But if you are using a pure beta-alanine supplement, then it does not matter as much when you take it, since the important thing is to be consistent with daily supplementation and be attentive to developing side effects.
Transient paresthesia is the only adverse effect known to be associated with beta-alanine usage.
Pure beta-alanine has been used in healthy younger adults in 6.4-gram daily doses over 10-week periods, and no adverse effects were caused besides transient paresthesia.
Similarly, in adults more than 55 years of age, 2.4-gram doses have been used daily for 3 months without any noticeable side effects.
There is not sufficient data available to rate the safety of beta-alanine supplementation in children, or in pregnant or nursing women, thus, usage in medicinal amounts is not advised for these groups.
Use beta-alanine supplements very cautiously if you are taking prescription medications for heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and/or erectile dysfunction.
Beta-alanine can indirectly cause the widening of the blood vessels, resulting in possible changes in blood pressure, heart functioning, and circulatory efficiency.
Discuss with a doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have or one who knows your health history before starting to take beta-alanine supplements.
Make sure to also discuss the medications and other supplements you may be taking to ensure the safety of combined use.
Pure beta-alanine has not been tested for long-term use, and as such, you should cycle off of beta-alanine after a maximum of twelve consecutive weeks to reduce the risk of negative side effects.
Best Selling Beta-Alanine Supplements
Beta-alanine is a known supplement that is affordable and proven to boost physical performance.
It is a worthwhile addition to your supplementation program and can help you push a bit harder in your training, helping you to add muscle faster as well.