What is Beta-Alanine, and Does it Build Muscle?
Whether you know it as the new carnitine or as a hot trend in bodybuilding, beta-alanine is the main building block of carnosine, a molecule that helps buffer acid in muscles while increasing the physical performance in the 60-240 second range. Therefore, beta-alanine aids gaining lean mass and is also linked to many antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
Beta-Alanine as A Supplement
So in a nutshell, beta-alanine is a modified version of the amino acid alanine. It has been proven to enhance muscular endurance in many tests.
According to the people using it, the supplement is known to give an extra boost of one or two additional reps in the gym when training in sets of 8 to 15 repetitions. Since it improves the moderate to high intensity cardio exercise performance, it acts as an acid buffer in the body.
Also, beta-alanine is famous for producing a ‘tingle’ in the gym which many people freak out about – which boasts performance benefits and comes from a unique chemical formula that we are helping you understand below.
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The Real Effects of Beta-Alanine on Weight Exercises and Bodybuilding
If we take the structure of beta-alanine as the main clue when reviewing it, we will see that it is basically a mixture of the potent neurotransmitters L-glycine and GABA, which is the main reason why it puts the muscles to instant action.
On top of that, it is worth mentioning that our body produces beta-alanine itself in at least three ways – either during the breakdown of histidine dipeptides or as a secondary byproduct of a reaction that converts L-alanine to pyruvate.
The main point here is that beta-alanine itself passes from our bloodstream into the skeletal muscle when consumed as a dietary supplement. That way, it enters the skeletal muscle cell and binds with the essential amino acid L-histidine, forming the dipeptide carnosine.
The Results of Consuming Beta-Alanine and Working Out
Supplementing your body with beta-alanine while working out is a great way to raise muscle carnosine concentrations. Directly linked to muscle carnosine levels, beta-alanine is known for many significant increases in muscle – for which reason it is compared to other iconic supplements like creatine.
However, unlike many other supplements, the beta-alanine does not only work by covering all muscle groups – it also proves great results. For example, some studies have shown that beta-alanine was able to increase muscle carnosine concentrations by 58% in only 4 weeks and even 80% in 10 weeks.
This is mainly because of the fact that beta-alanine is a potent antioxidant and as such, is a peptide that is one of the muscle’s first line of defense against the buildup of hydrogen ions during all high-intensity exercises. Therefore, beta-alanine is recommended for sprinters and natural muscle freaks (who usually have higher muscle carnosine concentrations).
The Sources Of Beta-Alanine In Real Food – And How To Make Most Of It As A Supplement
Beta-alanine is present in many real foods that we consume on a daily basis, mostly the animal proteins in the diet. Pork and beef are known to have the highest levels of carnosine, while tuna and venison are good sources of anserine.
However, the key presence of beta-alanine is found in pre-workout supplements that pack it in the right dosage to be effective in repeated research trials. So, if you are looking for a boost in muscle for your short to medium exercises that put your muscle performance to high intensity, beta-alanine is definitely a supplement that is effective.
The best results from beta-alanine, though, are seen with high-intensity exercises that last longer than 60 seconds, where the energy system is in highest demand and the beta-alanine works best on the human athletic performance. In a study that researched the effects of beta-alanine on cyclists, it was found that the most significant improvement from this supplement is in the first and fourth minute of cycling.
Therefore, it is safe to say that beta-alanine is a great way to increase the muscle strength, power output, training volume and mass. The effects of it have been measured on athletes that were improving their performance by more than 30% after consuming around 3 grams per day of beta-alanine for 3 months.
So, How To Supplement Yourself With Beta-Alanine?
The best way to see the effects of beta-alanine on your body is to consume it pre-workout – or in other words – as a pre-workout supplement. The time of the day when you consume this supplement is not really important as the consistency of consuming it each and every day for the maximum results.
This is mainly due to the muscle fiber makeup in the body and the amount of muscle carnosine that needs constant ‘refills’ so that it responds to supplementation at its peak performance. Also, the size of you as an individual does not affect the concentration of muscle carnosine that you can achieve, which is why beta-alanine is not linked to specific muscle groups.
If you want to combine the use of beta-alanine as a supplement, some of the best ways to take it is along with taurine – in order to improve your neuromuscular, cognitive and lung function, blood glucose utilization and antioxidant functions. Since each of the concentration of beta-alanine and taurine affects the other, consuming them consistently is the best practice.
So, supplementing yourself with beta-alanine prior to your workouts is recommended by the experts – whether you are bodybuilding or training for sports. And although there are some minor side effects like the ‘pins and needles’ or ‘tingles’ that are commonly experienced in the start, the supplementation with beta-alanine is overall without any side effects. However, make sure to always consume it on a full stomach if you want to prevent the ‘tingles’ from happening.
A Final Word
In the end, beta-alanine is safely one of the most consistently effective supplement for enhancing the performance out there. It is also a supplement used by many athletes, bodybuilders, ectomorphs (hard-gainers) and even vegetarians. Ideal for both men and women, it is safe to use in the long run and shows visible results just after few months of using it.