Review on beta alanine
Carnosine is a substance found in high concentrations in skeletal muscle. It is formed by the bonding of histadine and beta alanine, a naturally occurring beta amino acid. Carnosine could well be beneficial to sports performers as it acts as an intracellular pH buffer. This means that, in effect, it delays acidosis – the build-up of acid – and allows an athlete to maintain a high exercise intensity before fatigue sets in.
How: the elevation of carnosine is possible through beta alanine supplementation. Beta alanine exists in lower concentrations in the body than histadine, thus supplementing with beta alanine would appear a logical step in raising the levels of muscle carnosine, in an attempt to delay fatigue in high-intensity performance.
When to take beta alanine: it appears to work best when an athlete: 1) completes more than 60 seconds of high intensity work; 2) completes multiple high-intensity activities; 3) completes multiple high-intensity activities where rest periods are available; 4) wants to increase the volume of work they can accomplish during heavy training periods. Therefore, beta alanine benefits athletes that include: boxers, footballers, resistance-trained individuals, tennis players, short-distance or sprint track athletes (e.g. 400 – 1500m) and cyclists, 200 – 400m swimmers.
(Beta alanine studies are often done on cyclists >>>)
Beta alanine dosage: as a starting point, 1000mg – 1600mg 4 times per day (go up or down from there) supplemented for 4 – 10 weeks.
Beta alanine side effects: some people report paraethesia when taking beta alanine. This is characterised by a tingling sensation of the skin, and appears roughly 60 minutes after supplementation. This tends to occur at higher dosages, however, and may not appear where slow release capsules are used or the beta alanine dosage is reduced and consumed at regular intervals throughout the day.
Beta alanine review in summary: beta alanine supplementation increases levels of muscle carnosine, which in turn increases muscle buffering capacity. This allows a continuation of high-intensity work capacity through a reduction in the detrimental impact of acid (H+) accumulation, which contributes to muscular fatigue. The athlete therefore works harder, for longer, before muscular fatigue prevents the athlete continuing at the same intensity.
*Credit – Photo: Beta alanine powder by MyProtein