In A Nutshell: Beta-alanine is a performance-enhancing sports supplement, which is a non-essential amino acid that increases muscle carnosine levels, resulting in boosts of energy. This means that you are able to sustain exercise beyond your normal limit, which is good news for people who want to build muscle or shape and tone up their bodies.
What is Beta-Alanine?
Of all the supplements in this book, beta-alanine is the only one that is exclusively a sports performance supplement. It works by increasing the concentration of muscle carnosine.
Carnosine is a peptide antioxidant that prevents muscle fatigue and, therefore, enables the person to engage in high-intensity workouts for longer periods. Carnosine is present in significant amounts in fast-twitch muscle fibers – the kind of muscle fibers that allow sprinters to run fast and with explosive energy.
Some amount of carnosine is also available from food, especially from animal proteins like pork, beef, venison, and tuna, although supplements are likely to be efficient because it is unlikely that you would be able to measure the content that you get into your body from your food sources.
Uses of Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is wholly a workout supplement. It is used by bodybuilders, weight lifters, short-distance runners, soccer players, boxers, and many other athletes. Beta-alanine is comparable to creatine, which provides quick and short bursts of energy.
The difference is that beta-alanine appears to be able to supply more sustained amounts of energy. It is beneficial in high-intensity workouts that last for one to five minutes and that have short rest periods of less than two minutes. It is especially recommended for boxing and kickboxing routines, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and CrossFit training.
There are early studies exploring the possible use of beta-alanine to improve the physical health of elderly people above age 55. It appears that the supplement can significantly help reduce muscle fatigue among them. This research is ongoing; no definite findings are available at present.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information has conducted studies on this to see if it can help older people. Their findings were interesting because it seems that this will help older people increase their capacity to exercise for longer periods without any kind of pain or cramp associated with age.
I have also reviewed a lot of other weight loss supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
Form and Dosage of Beta-Alanine
The recommended daily oral dose of beta-alanine is between 3 and 6 grams. However, start with a low amount of 1 to 2 grams, and increase it gradually.
Trainers advise that beta-alanine should be taken consistently every day to store carnosine in the muscles and to increase absorption of the supplement. The best time to take it is just before a workout.
Safety and Precautions of Beta-Alanine
When taking beta-alanine for the first time, you may experience paresthesia. This is a prickling or “pins and needles” sensation often felt on the scalp or back of the neck. You may also experience it as a burning, itching, or warm sensation on other parts of your body.
If the paresthesia is severe, consider switching to a lower dosage. Apart from this, there are no side effects, making this a safe alternative to help you to burn fat and to allow your body to exercise for longer.
As with all supplements, we do suggest talking to your medical physician to see if he or she approves of adding this supplement to your daily intake.
Food Sources of Beta-Alanine
It may be worth noting the foods to include in your diet to increase the accumulation of beta-alanine because if you are not happy taking the supplement or if there is some reason why it is ill advised, this will help you increase your beta-alanine the natural way.
- Chicken breast
- Soy beans
- Lean Beef