BETA-ALANINE – THE TINGLES!
Beta-Alanine, a non-essential amino acid (NEAA) is one of the most heavily studied performance-enhancing supplements with consistent results. The benefits of Beta-Alanine supplementation range from delayed fatigue, increased muscular endurance, and lean muscle gain all the way to its anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
- The most notable benefits of Beta-Alanine supplementation are founded on its ability to bind to the essential amino acid (EAA) Histidine in the body to create the compound Carnosine. Carnosine is an important intramuscular buffer which is released in response to acidic conditions normally caused by lactic acid build-up (Muscle Acidosis) during prolonged exercise. By buffering lactic acid build-up, Carnosine delays the onset of muscular fatigue and increases acute muscular performance in the 1-10 minute range .
- However, Beta-Alanine is the rate-limiting precursor to Carnosine; meaning that there are ample levels of Histidine in your body present to form Carnosine, but more Beta-Alanine is required to match the Histidine in order to increase intramuscular Carnosine Supplementing with Beta-Alanine is proven to increase intramuscular Carnosine levels and decrease muscle acidosis [2, 3]!
- Beta-Alanine supplementation is proven to increase endurance exercise performance regardless of your fitness level or type of exercise being performed [1, 4]. The greatest benefits of Beta-Alanine are apparent in exercise bouts of 1-3 minutes , making it ideal for high intensity physical sports . Studies also show that chronic supplementation with Beta-Alanine paired with high intensity interval training improves lean muscle mass .
- A common, yet harmless side-effect of Beta-Alanine supplementation at higher doses is a tingling feeling called paresthesia. This prickling sensation runs through your skin and across your body (especially your face) just minutes after ingestion. Many athletes covet this sensation, as it is a sure sign that the preworkout is kicking in!
- Figure 1 – Effects of Beta-Alanine on High-Intensity-Exercise Performance (Adapted from Artioli et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 )
- The research available suggests supplementing with 2,000-5,000mg of Beta-Alanine daily to achieve optimal muscular endurance benefits.
- Saunders B, Elliott-Sale K, Artioli GG, Swinton PA, Dolan E, Roschel H, Sale C, Gualano B. β-alanine supplementation to improve exercise capacity and performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Apr;51(8):658-669. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096396. Epub 2016 Oct 18. PMID: 27797728.
- Baguet A, Bourgois J, Vanhee L, Achten E, Derave W. Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Oct;109(4):1096-101. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00141.2010. Epub 2010 Jul 29. PMID: 20671038.
- Jordan T, Lukaszuk J, Misic M, Umoren J. Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during treadmill running: Pre/post 2 treatment experimental design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 May 19;7:20. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-20. PMID: 20482881; PMCID: PMC2887393.
- Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Faigenbaum AD, Ross R, Kang J, Stout JR, Wise JA. Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;28(1):31-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2007.11.004. PMID: 19083385.
- Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24. PMID: 22270875; PMCID: PMC3374095.
- Donovan T, Ballam T, Morton JP, Close GL. β-alanine improves punch force and frequency in amateur boxers during a simulated contest. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Oct;22(5):331-7. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.22.5.331. Epub 2012 Jul 4. PMID: 22805175.
- Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-5. PMID: 19210788; PMCID: PMC2649036.
- Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c74e38. PMID: 20479615.