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Beta Alanine Benefits & Side Effects

by Travis Hlavka

Beta-alanine effectiveness has been researched extensively and is backed by major university, peer-reviewed studies performed on real people.

It’s a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid, but it is not used in the building of proteins like other aminos.

Foods high in protein such as chicken, beef, pork and fish have beta-alanine containing dipeptides which are believed to have the greatest natural dietary sources of beta-alanine.

Beta Alanine Dosing

Research shows that you can take between 3.2 grams and 6.4 grams per day to significantly improve performance and boost carnosine levels. The most recent research I found shows similar numbers at 4-5 grams a day for comparable carnosine level increases.  (Keep reading to learn more about why carnosine is important)

Beta Alanine Benefits

  • Increases explosive muscular strength and power.
  • Increases muscle mass.
  • Boosts muscular anaerobic endurance.
  • Increases aerobic endurance.
  • Increases exercise capacity

Beta-alanine’s performance benefits are not direct.  They come through its ability to increase carnosine synthesis.  Carnosine is a naturally occurring di-peptide that is found in both fast and slow twitch muslce fibers, but is in significantly higher concentrations in fast twitch (or type 2 muscle fibers). Fast twitch are primarily used in high intensity strength workouts for short bursts.

Beta alanine creates more carnosine which then cleans up hydrogen ions and helps our muscle fibers stay at an optimal pH level.  An optimal pH level will allow you to maintain maximal endurance and strength in your workout.

Note:  Supplementing carnosine is not the answer to raising carnosine in your system because carnosine it’s converted into beta alanine and histidine, and then the beta alanine is converted back to carnosine.  You would need to take a substantial amount of carnosine to increase the concentrations to the same level as taking beta alanine alone.

Beta Alanine Side Effects

 Side effects have not been reported with moderate doses of beta-alanine when used as directed and over a short time period. High doses can cause flushing and tingling.

Studies of up to 12 weeks of continued beta-alanine use, have examined at a large amount of blood biochemical, hematological and hormonal markers with no negative side effects.  It’s impossible to say beta alanine is 100% safe until even more scientific research is done, but based on the current studies, up to 12 weeks of continued beta-alanine supplementation is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of beta-alanine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Other Names:  3-aminopropanoic acid, 3-aminopropionic Acid, Acide 3-aminopropanoïque, Acide 3-aminopropionique, Acide Aminé Non Essentiel, Acide Bêta-Aminé, b-Ala, B-alanine, B-aminopropionic Acid, Beta-alanina, Bêta-Alanine, Beta-alanine Ethyl Ester, Beta-amino Acid, Non-essential Amino Acid.

 

 

References:
Livestrong – Beta Alanine Benefits
WebMD – Beta Alanine
BodyBuilding.com – Beta Alanine

Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

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