Beta-alanine is a popular workout supplement, especially among high-intensity performance athletes such as sprinters, cyclers, swimmers, and rowers. It improves endurance, delays fatigue, and improves performance. If you are a fitness fan, health guru, or gym-goer, you must have heard about beta-alanine supplements. But you may have many questions: what does it do? How does it work? Why is it so popular? Find the answers you desperately need concerning beta-alanine below.
What is beta-alanine?
Beta-alanine is classified as a non-essential amino acid which means that your body can produce it. It is a natural molecule found in the liver, and you can also obtain it from other food sources, including chicken, fish, turkey, and beef. The concentrated version of beta-alanine is found in beta-alanine supplements associated with improving performance in sports.
Since the body makes the amino acid by itself, you don’t need to obtain it from food sources and extra supplements. However, the natural levels are not enough to support high-intensity performance; therefore, athletes supplement to improve their performance and support workout recovery.
What does beta-alanine do?
Beta-alanine combines with another amino acid known as histidine to create carnosine stored in the muscle tissues. Carnosine plays a critical role during exercise by buffering muscle acidosis, which causes fatigue. Therefore, taking beta-alanine supplements increases the carnosine concentration in the muscles, leading to enhanced benefits during a workout.
What is the correct beta-alanine dosage?
According to most studies, the correct dosage is 2-6g of beta-alanine a day. Ideally, it is advisable to start with a lower dose and see how your body responds as you work your way up. Since formulas and strengths vary, it is best to follow instructions on the supplement label.
Note that beta-alanine doesn’t work overnight. You have to supplement for at least four weeks to accumulate enough carnosine levels in the muscles to notice your performance changes. Oral beta-alanine supplementation has proven effective, and it’s associated with benefits like greater exercise endurance by up to 64% after four weeks. According to research taking beta-alanine supplements for 8weeks can increase carnosine levels in the muscles by up to 80%.
Does it have any side effects?
The main side effect of beta-alanine supplementation is paresthesia, a tingling sensation on the face, neck, or the back of the hands. Like many other side effects, not everyone experiences paresthesia after taking beta-alanine. The feeling may be strange at first, but it goes away within minutes after taking your dose.
The best way to avoid that tingling sensation is to divide your daily beta-alanine dose into smaller doses. Also, you should consult a doctor before starting the supplementation. All in all, beta-alanine is scientifically proven as a safe supplement.
When is the right time to take beta-alanine?
There is no right time to take beta-alanine as long as you are consistent with your daily dosage. Take your beta-alanine supplements with a meal or snack to enhance their effectiveness.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid often used as a sports supplement to improve endurance and performance.