Beta Alanine is a modified version of the non-essential amino acid Alanine, that can be found predominantly in protein rich foods such as Chicken, Turkey, Soybeans and Beef, in addition to many ergogenic (performance enhancing) supplements.
When ingested, Beta-Alanine turns into Carnosine and is stored in our cells, Carnosine in turn acts as a powerful acid buffer in the body, particularly useful for protection against exercise-induced lactic acid buildup. Carnosine is also a pre curser to Nitric Oxide thus Beta-Alanine ingestion has an eventual vasodilation effect and commonly leads to a harmless prickling/tingling feeling, known as Paresthesia.
Carnosine is readily available in the diet, particularly in animal flesh, however, the human body is not particularly efficient at absorbing Carnosine thus in certain use cases, supplementation or ingestion of a Carnosine precursor is preferred.
A typical daily dose of Beta-Alanine is up to 2-3grams per day and its benefits can be enjoyed by spacing this out evenly throughout the day or in one single serving.
In addition to the aforementioned lactic acid buffering, Beta-Alanine is touted for a number of benefits, including:
- Increase in exercise capacity
- Increase in aerobic threshold
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Increase in rate of recovery
- Increase in strength
- Reduction in body fat
- Stimulatory feeling
- Neutralising free radicals
- Reducing oxidative stress
Some of which are demonstrated in clinical studies when compared to placebo groups:
- Increases training volume and reduces feeling of fatigue (1)
- Improves the outcome of exercise - (2)
- Stimulates lean mass accrual (3)
- In tested demographics, Improves muscular endurance - (3)
Alongside Caffeine, Creatine and Branch Chain Amino Acids, Beta-Alanine is one of the most studied and consistently appraised ingredients in performance nutrition and is appropriate for enhancing performance and outcome for a myriad of goals and demographics.