Beta Alanine: Answers to Your Questions

in Sportsfuel Articles and Blog
Beta Alanine: Answers to Your Questions

Beta Alanine is a nutrient that isn't considered essential to the survival of the human body, but for many athletes and body builders, it is absolutely essential to helping them achieve their goals. Sometimes, sold under the brand name CarnoSyn, beta-alanine can help you tap into your full potential during workouts and competitions, so you can perform at your best.

While many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use beta-alanine, a lot of people still don't know as much about the nutrient as they do other sports nutrition staples.
This guide provides answers to some of the most common questions regarding beta-alanine.

What Is Beta Alanine?

Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid that is also sometimes called 3-aminopropionic acid. The nutrient is used to produce a number of substances, including the peptides carnosine and anserine and the vitamin pantothenic acid. In the body, the nutrient acts similarly to a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger that is used to send messages to the brain.
Your body naturally produces beta-alanine through one of three mechanisms:
  • Through the breakdown of peptides that contain the nutrient
  • As a by-product of the conversion of l-alanine to pyruvate
  • Through the breakdown of l-aspartame during digestion
When you take a beta-alanine supplement, the nutrient is absorbed and then distributed to the muscles. There, it can bind with the amino acid l-histidine to create carnosine. It's this action that gives the nutrient its sports nutrition benefits.

What Does Beta Alanine Do?

What makes the increase of carnosine that comes from beta-alanine so beneficial? Well, the substance helps to keep hydrogen ion levels low in order to maintain optimal pH levels within the muscle tissue during exercise. In turn, this allows you to work out for longer without experiencing muscle fatigue.

In clinical tests, beta-alanine has been shown to increase levels of carnosine in muscle tissue universally. This separates the nutrient from other carnosine boosters that seem to work for some people and not for others. Studies show that beta-alanine is most beneficial for supporting workouts that are of short to medium length and that require a lot of muscle performance. Anyone who is participating in high intensity circuit training, interval training, CrossFit or any other type of program that focuses on exercising until failure with only short breaks between moves could likely benefit from using a beta-alanine supplement on a daily basis.

How Can I Get More Beta Alanine?

There are two main ways that you can increase the amount of beta-alanine in your body: through diet and through supplementation. Meats, particularly beef and pork, are excellent sources of beta-alanine. If you're exploring supplements, you can obtain beta-alanine through pre-workout supplements or from a standalone supplement product. Experts recommend that you only use beta-alanine supplements that contain CarnoSyn. That's because true beta-alanine is made through a patented process and only available from a single manufacturer. If a label doesn't say CarnoSyn, the nutrient inside is not true beta-alanine.

When Is the Best Time to Take Beta Alanine?

The benefits of beta-alanine begin shortly after you take it, and as a result, many experts recommend that it be used exclusively as a preworkout supplement. It's important to note, though, that when you take the supplement isn't as crucial to success as consistent dosages. You'll need to make sure that you don't skip a day or a miss a dose, as beta-alanine must accumulate in the muscles over time to provide the most benefits.

What Supplements Work Well with Beta Alanine?

Studies have shown that beta-alanine supplements are safest and most effective when they are used along with taurine supplements. This is because the two amino acids are tied to one another and reabsorbed by the body using the same processes. Using both together will help you avoid any unwanted complications.

You can combine beta-alanine with many other supplements, including creatine, ATP, caffeine, betain, branched-chain amino acids, glutamine and carbohydrates. The right combination of supplements will depend upon your overall goals. If you'd like assistance or personalised recommendations, contact us for help.

Do You Need to Cycle Beta Alanine?

With many supplements, it's best to alternate between on periods when you use the product and off periods when you discontinue use. Cycling is done to keep the body from building up a tolerance to a specific nutrient. As long as you're taking beta-alanine along with taurine, you don't need to worry about taking a break from beta-alanine supplementation.

If you do decide to forgo a taurine supplement, the best approach is to use a beta-alanine for a period of 4 to 9 weeks and then to discontinue use for an equal period of time.

What Are the Beta Alanine Side Effects?

Beta-alanine is generally safe according to the latest research, but it does cause a side effect that many first-time users find startling. Shortly after taking beta-alanine, you're likely to develop a feeling of tingling or pins and needles in your neck and arms. This may be accompanied with a burning sensation, itchiness and reddening of the face and ears. The symptoms may last for up to 90 minutes.

If you find the side effect bothersome, it's a good idea to keep dosages restrained to 800 to 1200 milligrams taken no more than every 3 to 4 hours for the first month of use. Another way to decrease the severity of the side effect is to take beta-alanine with food. This is because the supplement will be absorbed more gradually when not taken on an empty stomach.

While there is still more than needs to be learned about beta-alanine, its benefits and the ideal way to use it, what we know now indicates that this amino acid can provide real benefits for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Those most likely to benefit from beta-alanine include women, vegetarians and individuals who have a difficult time bulking up. Sportsfuel carries a wide selection of beta-alanine supplements with different options that are ideal for different fitness goals. Contact us for assistance if you'd like help selecting a product.

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