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Beta Alanine is an amino acid that is often used in pre-workout supplements. However, if you look at the findings of numerous stu...Show full detailsOriginal price €22,90Original price €22,90 - Original price €22,90Original price €22,90Current price €20,38€20,38 - €20,38Current price €20,38|/Save 11% now Save now
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Enhances the increase of lean muscle mass! Features The more carnosine in the muscle, the longer the muscle performance can be maintained....Show full detailsOriginal price €9,90 - Original price €9,90Original price €9,90€9,90€9,90 - €9,90Current price €9,90|/Sold out
What is beta-alanine?
B-alanine (C3H7NO2) is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta amino acid.
While á-alanine is found in many foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, plants and some dairy products, β-alanine is produced in the body by the enzyme beta-ureidopropionase via B-alanine synthase. B-alanine is a breakdown product of carnosine and a component of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Beta-alanine is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid that can be produced in the body enzymatically from the amino acid alanine to a limited extent. Beta-alanine has the unique ability to significantly delay the onset of muscle exhaustion, which results in you being able to perform more repetitions during each training set and more intense training sets during a training session, resulting in increased training effectiveness and muscle growth. This effect is not limited to training with weights, which means that endurance athletes can also benefit from beta-alanine supplementation. Since there are a large number of human studies that prove the effect of beta-alanine beyond doubt, this supplement is considered by many experts to be the greatest innovation in the field of sports supplementation since the introduction of creatine.
How does beta-alanine work?
During intense muscular exertion, there is an increased production of hydrogen ions within the muscles, which results in a drop in the pH value and an over-acidification of the muscles. The more the pH value drops within the exercised muscles, the more the performance of the muscles also decreases, until muscle failure finally occurs. Carnosine, the body's strongest intramuscular acid buffer, can effectively counteract this over-acidification of the muscles during training and thus maintain the performance of the trained muscles for longer, which means that you can perform more repetitions with a given weight and provide a stronger stimulus for muscle growth. Carnosine is produced in the human body from beta-alanine and histidine, with the amount of available beta-alanine being the limiting factor on the rate of carnosine production. In other words, the more beta-alanine available in the body, the more carnosine the body will produce. Since the body's own beta-alanine production is severely limited, just like the amount of beta-alanine supplied through the normal diet, a significant increase in carnosine production can only be achieved with the help of beta-alanine supplementation. In this regard, studies have shown that supplementation with approximately 3 grams of beta-alanine per day can increase carnosine levels within the muscles by 65% within 4 weeks and that longer supplementation can increase carnosine levels by up to 80%. As an added bonus, carnosine is a precursor to a group of enzymes responsible for the production of nitric oxide in the body, which means that increased carnosine levels result in increased nitric oxide production and thus a stronger muscle pump during exercise, as well as a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to the trained muscles due to better blood flow.
Who can benefit from beta-alanine supplementation?
In principle, every athlete who wants to increase his endurance and the performance of his muscles and counteract an overacidification of the muscles during training can benefit from beta-alanine. Beta-alanine supplementation is especially interesting for older athletes, as carnosine levels within the muscles continue to decrease with age. Since beta-alanine is primarily found in meat in the natural diet, vegetarians, vegans, and people who eat little meat can also benefit especially strongly from beta-alanine supplementation.
What are the main benefits of beta-alanine?
- Increases aerobic and anaerobic muscle endurance - Delays muscle fatigue - Enables harder training with more repetitions for increased muscle growth - Counteracts muscle acidification during workouts - Increases explosive muscle strength and muscle endurance - Can increase the concentration of the acid buffer carnosine in the muscles by up to 80%. - Enhances muscle pump during exercise and improves the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the exercised muscles
Beta-alanine is an amino acid produced in the liver or by intestinal bacteria (11, 12). It combines with histidine in the muscles and brain to form carnosine. Beta-alanine increases carnosine levels in muscles and brain and helps muscles resist accumulation of acid (11, 13, 14).
Beta-alanine also acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. For example, beta-alanine inhibits the uptake of the amino acid taurine into cells, which can result in oxidative stress, cell damage, and respiratory problems (15, 16).
In addition, beta-alanine is a competitive GABA antagonist (blocker) that also inhibits nerve cell activity (17).
During exercise, the intramuscular PH balance of the exercised muscle changes. During anaerobic energy production for muscular movements, hydrogen ions accumulate, lowering intramuscular PH and leading to muscle acidification - a condition that causes inflammation and triggers muscle failure. Carnosine plays an important role in muscle failure by acting as an acid buffer that counteracts muscle acidity and delays muscle failure.
When taken as a supplement, β-alanine is taken up by skeletal muscle and synthesized into carnosine along with histidine by the enzyme carnosine synthase. Studies have shown that β-alanine supplementation can increase intramuscular carnosine levels by up to 64%! (1, 2) Increased intramuscular carnosine levels can increase the acid buffering capacity of a muscle by up to 20%. By increasing lactate threshold, β-alanine supplementation can dramatically delay muscle fatigue (3) and significantly improve muscle work capacity and performance.
Potential benefits of beta-alanine for health and performance
Beta-alanine can increase athletic performance
Two meta-analyses of studies involving a total of 18,000 subjects concluded that beta-alanine increased strength and exercise capacity, but not performance. Beta-alanine was most effective during activities lasting 30 to 10 minutes (18, 19). The effect varied based on the condition of the subjects and the type of exercise. For example, beta-alanine was able to increase performance during high-intensity exercise of short duration (anaerobic exercise lasting from one to four minutes) (11).
In addition, beta-alanine was able to increase training volume and performance during resistance training in athletes, which could also enhance performance in the athletes' primary sport (20).
For example, in a six-week study of 15 male water polo players, beta-alanine was shown to improve throwing speed and 200-meter swimming performance when taken 6, 4 grams daily (21).
In another study of 25 female soccer players, beta-alanine improved performance in repeated sprints and jumps and increased endurance. Similar results were observed in a study with 20 soldiers (22, 23).
However, other studies conclude that beta-alanine did not improve performance during repeated sprints in athletes taking 6 grams of beta-alanine daily (24, 25, 26). All in all, trends suggest that nonathletes might benefit from beta-alanine in laboratory studies but not in field tests. In athletes, on the other hand, improvements have been observed in athletic performance and high-intensity training. In team sports, beta-alanine appears to be able to increase performance and volume during resistance training (20).
Studies with soldiers
A study review was able to show that beta-alanine was able to increase the performance of soldiers, which was particularly observed during repetitive, high-intensity activities during combat training (27).
In a four-week study of 20 elite soldiers, beta-alanine improved jumping power, shooting speed, and scoring accuracy (23).
Another study of 18 elite soldiers showed mixed results. Beta-alanine improved speed in a 50-meter carry exercise and improved cognitive performance under stress. However, it did not improve performance in running, sprinting, and scoring accuracy (28).
Beta-alanine can delay the onset of fatigue and reduce lactic acid formation in muscles
Several human studies concluded that beta-alanine delays the onset of fatigue. However, it is important to note that there are few studies that have investigated its safety (28, 29, 30).
A meta-analysis of studies involving a total of 360 subjects showed that beta-alanine improved performance during high-intensity efforts lasting longer than one minute (18). A study review on the topic found that beta-alanine reduced lactic acid formation during high-intensity anaerobic efforts, which delayed fatigue (31). In a four-week study, beta-alanine reduced acid formation in muscle during high-intensity cycling exercise (32). Beta-alanine also reduced fatigue in the context of 2 studies involving 15 trained sprinters and 51 nonathletic participants (30, 33).
However, individual improvements vary greatly from person to person. In a five-week sprint study with 11 men, beta-alanine neither increased performance nor reduced fatigue (34).
In summary, the evidence supporting that beta-alanine has a role in reducing lactic acidosis and fatigue is promising, although there are some conflicting studies.
Beta-alanine could promote muscle building
In a three-week study of 46 men who completed high-intensity interval training, beta-alanine increased oxygen uptake, respiratory threshold (the point of exercise at which oxygen use exceeds oxygen intake), endurance and stamina, and lean muscle mass (35).
In a similar eight-week study of 44 women, beta-alanine reduced body fat percentage and increased both lean body mass and total body mass (36).
Beta-alanine could have anti-aging properties
Preliminary research suggests that beta-alanine may be beneficial for the elderly. In a three-month study of 18 elderly people, beta-alanine was observed to increase exercise capacity in the subjects (9).
Beta-alanine also improved leg muscle function in old mice (37). Beta-alanine forms the molecule carnosine in muscles. Carnosine reduced aging-related stress in old rats. This type of stress damages cells and increases the risk of age-related chronic diseases (38, 13, 39, 40).
In aged mice, a combination of beta-alanine and epigallocatechin gallate increased lifespan (41).
Again, further studies are needed before meaningful conclusions can be drawn.
Beta-alanine could improve cognitive function under stress
In a study of 18 elite soldiers, beta-alanine improved cognitive performance during combat training (28).
In contrast, in other studies involving 20 elite soldiers and 19 athletes, no improvement in brain function was observed under either stress or normal conditions (23, 42) Because of these contradictory results, further studies are needed to shed more light on the effects of beta-alanine on cognitive function under stress.
Beta-alanine could help with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
Beta-alanine increases carnosine and serotonin levels in the brain. Carnosine was able to reduce anxiety in rodents. It increased levels of the anxiety-reducing molecule brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is lower in rats with post-traumatic stress disorder. Beta-alanine could alleviate anxiety by maintaining normal levels of this molecule in the brain (43, 44, 45).
Beta-alanine could also reduce behaviors typical of posttraumatic stress disorder. In rats, beta-alanine improved behavioral patterns of posttraumatic stress disorder and maintained normal levels of BDNF (43).
In contrast, a similar study conducted with rodents showed no behavioral improvements (14).
Beta-alanine could have beneficial effects in brain injuries
In rats, beta-alanine reduced behavioral changes after mild traumatic brain injury (14).
Beta-alanine could improve body composition
Some evidence suggests that beta-alanine may have a positive effect on body composition.
One study showed that supplementation with beta-alanine for three weeks increased muscle mass (28). It is possible that beta-alanine could improve body composition by increasing exercise volume and promoting muscle growth. However, other studies have not observed significant differences in body composition and body weight after beta-alanine supplementation (46, 47).
Other health benefits of beta-alanine
Beta-alanine increases carnosine levels, which may provide numerous health benefits. Interestingly, studies conducted with animals and in the test tube suggest that carnosine has antioxidant and immune function enhancing properties, but this has yet to be confirmed by human studies.
The antioxidant benefits of carnosine include free radical neutralization and oxidative stress reduction (48, 49, 50).
In addition, studies conducted in the test tube suggest that carnosine increases nitric oxide production. This could help slow the aging process and improve heart health (51).
Last but not least, carnosine could improve muscle quality and function in the elderly (52, 53).
Possible combinations of beta-alanine with other supplements
Beta-alanine is often combined with other supplements including sodium bicarbonate and creatine.
Sodium bicarbonate enhances exercise performance by reducing the acidity of blood and muscle (54).
Many studies have combined beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate. The results suggest some benefits of this combination of supplements - especially during exercise, during which muscle acidity reduces performance (55, 56).
Recent scientific studies show that beta-alanine has additional benefits when combined with creatine monohydrate (4). One study showed that combined beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation had a synergistic effect that dramatically increased strength release (5). In addition, the gains in lean body mass and strength, as well as the reduction in body fat, were significantly greater than creatine monohydrate supplementation alone (6).
Beta-alanine is believed to enhance the effects of creatine monohydrate supplementation through its ability to increase carnosine concentration and improve anaerobic energy system function, while creatine helps to enhance high-intensity exercise performance by increasing ATP availability.
Indeed, it has been shown that a combination of creatine and beta-alanine can increase exercise performance, strength, and lean muscle mass (57, 58, 59).
High concentrations of beta-alanine reduced taurine levels in rats (17). However, the dosage of beta-alanine recommended for humans is probably too low to significantly reduce taurine levels in the body (66). For example, a 10-week study of 13 men showed that beta-alanine supplementation did not reduce taurine levels (67).
Taurine supplementation prevents a possible reduction in taurine levels by beta-alanine. The combination of beta-alanine and taurine helped mice combat muscle fatigue (68).
Who needs it?
Women and vegetarians have lower muscle carnosine levels than men and meat eaters. Furthermore, muscle carnosine levels decrease with age (8, 9). In addition to this, body composition and muscle fiber composition also influence the impact of beta-alanine on physical performance.
Groups of individuals who may benefit most from beta-alanine supplementation include (10):
- Older people
- People with large amounts of type I muscle fibers / low amounts of type II muscle fibers.
How much should one take and are there any side effects?
The intake recommendation on the label should be followed exactly. Studies have shown that the maximum effect can be observed after ten weeks of intake (7). Dosage and timing can influence the results of beta-alanine supplementation. Beta-alanine induced improvements in exercise performance have been observed with the use of higher dosages (3.2 to 6.4 grams per day) for at least one month (12).
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends 4 to 6 grams of beta-alanine per day for at least 4 weeks. This dose can be taken all at once or divided into several individual doses to reduce the typical tingling sensation (60).
A dosage of up to 12 grams per day (sustained release) is considered safe and effective (61).
Taking beta-alanine with a meal can further increase carnosine levels (62). Interestingly, taking a beta-alanine supplement seems to be better than taking carnosine when it comes to increasing carnosine levels (63).
Safety and side effects
At high doses, there may be a slight reddening of the skin and a tingling sensation called paraesthesia, usually felt in the area of the face, neck and back of the hands. This effect is harmless and disappears, over time. when the intake dose is reduced.
The intensity of this tingling increases with the dosage used. This side effect can be avoided if smaller single doses - in the range of 800 mg each - are used several times throughout the day (64).
There is no evidence that paraesthesia could be harmful in any way (65). Another possible side effect is a reduction in taurine levels in the body. This is related to the fact that beta-alanine and taurine compete with each other for absorption into the muscles.
Evidence continues to suggest that beta-alanine may induce oxidative stress, although this evidence is inconclusive. For example, a study conducted with cells from rats suffering from hyper beta-alaninemia concluded that beta-alanine increased free radical levels, reduced oxygen delivery, and caused mitochondrial death. This reduced cellular energy production and evoked oxidative stress, which can lead to heart failure (15).
In rats, chronic supplementation increased levels of reactive oxygen species in the brain and reduced antioxidant activity (17).
However, the molecular byproduct of beta-alanine - carnosine - acts as an antioxidant that protected against Parkinson's disease in rats. In rat brain, carnosine inhibited programmed cell death of brain cells, increased antioxidant levels, and reduced levels of reactive oxygen species (38, 69).
Individuals who have the rare genetic defect called hyper-beta-alaninemia should not take beta-alanine.
Beta-alanine enhances performance by increasing exercise capacity and reducing muscle fatigue.
It also has antioxidant properties, immune function enhancing properties and anti-aging properties.
- Dunnett M & Harris RC: Influence of oral beta-alanine and L-histidine supplementation on the carnosine content of gluteus medius. Equine Vet J 30: 499 - 504, 1999.
- Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Hill C, Boobis L, Coakley J, Fallowfield J, Kim HJ, Wise JA. The absorption of β-alanine into blood and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. In Press. Amino Acids (2006).
- Tallon MJ, Harris RC, Boobis L, Fallowfield J, Wise JA. The carnosine content of vastus lateralis is elevated in resistance trained bodybuilders. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 19: 725-729, 2005.
- Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O'kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M. Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion. Amino Acids. 2006 Sep 5.
- Harris, R. FASEB. Effect of Combined Beta-Alanine and Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation on Exercise Performance.
- Hoffman J, Stout JR, et al. Effect of creatine and ÃŸ-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. In Press. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2006).
- Hill, Harris, Kim, Harris, Sale, Boobis, Kim, Wise. Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity.Amino Acids. 2006. july 28