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Beta Alanine Supplements

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About Beta Alanine Supplements

Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that increases the synthesis of a muscle-specific protein called carnosine. Carnosine has many uses in the body, including buffering lactic acid and delivering an antioxidant effects. Beta-alanine is reffered to as a rate-limiting precursor to carnosine, meaning that low natural beta-alanine levels limit the human body's ability to produce carnosine.


Supplementing with beta-alanine is an effective strategy for increasing muscle carnosine levels, as indicated by research published by Amino Acids in 2007. This paper highlighted the fact that beta-alanine supplementation can increase muscle carnosine levels by up to 80% after 10 weeks. However, the questions still remains, does this carnosine increase necessarily lead to better performance or recovery? 


Research published by Clinical science in 1993 indicated that beta alanine supplementation reduces muscle fatigue towards the end of a session. It is believed that this happened due to an improved lactate buffering capacity and an increase in myofibrillar calcium ion sensitivity.


Beta-alanine is not to be confused with alanine, the amino acid that you can find listed within the amino acid profile of all protein powders. The natural alaine content of most protein powders is approximately 5% by weight. This is because alanine is a naturally found in a range of proteins and is used in the human body for exactly this purpose, including proteins found in muscle. However, the Beta-alanine form of alanine is not a proteinogenic amino acid, meaning that it is not used directly for protein building. It merely serves as a building block for carnosine, which is found in muscle, but not as a structural component of muscle.


A recent clinical study examined a 6.4 gram dosage over 5 weeks of strength training. The doses were divided into 8 servings of 800mg, likely to avoid the tingling side-effects. The authors concluded that supplementation, compared to placebo, led to a greater load lifted and more strength gains. This was reported in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2018

Given these physiological roles and research results, it would be fair to assume that beta-alanine supports muscle strength and endurance, delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. It has been suggested that beta-alanine supplementation offers the greaest benefits for exercises containing repeated bouts of around 1-3 minutes, with intermittent rest periods in between.


Beta-alanine can supplementation can induce a skin tingle and itch in susceptible individuals. This effect is triggered within primary sensory neurons and is not believed to be mediated by histamine. This side-effect can be reduced by decreasing the serving size and spreading smaller dosages throughout the day.