Beta-alanine is a common term among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. You may have heard about it but don’t know what it does. Here you will learn everything you need to know about beta-alanine supplements and how they work.
Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid naturally found in the body, but unlike most amino acids, it is not used to synthesize proteins. Rather, it combines with histidine in the body to produce carnosine stored in the skeletal muscles.
Carnosine plays a key role during physical performance. It reduces lactic acid build-up in your muscles, the primary cause of fatigue during physical performance. Hence it enhances athletic performance. Beta-alanine supplements are popular because they boost athletic performance and build lean muscle mass in younger adults.
How do they work?
How do beta-alanine supplements work? Since beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid, it is converted to other chemicals that aid the muscles in the body. In the body muscles, the histidine levels are usually high, but beta-alanine levels are low, limiting the production of carnosine. Therefore, taking beta-alanine supplements for ten weeks has been found to boost carnosine levels by 80%.
Fo you to understand how beta-alanine supplements work, it is best to learn how carnosine works during exercise or physical performance. Glucose is broken down when you exercise, which is the primary source of strength during high-performance exercises. As you exercise, glucose is broken down to lactic acid in the muscles, producing hydrogen ions.
The hydrogen ions interfere with the PH level in your muscles and makes them more acidic. Muscle acidity stops glucose breakdown and interferes with your muscle’s ability to contract, leading to fatigue. However, carnosine acts as a buffer against the acid by reducing muscle acidity during physical performance.
In simple words, beta-alanine supplements increase carnosine levels which helps reduce muscle acidity during exercises. Hence it prolongs the time it takes to fatigue during physical performance.
Effectiveness of beta-alanine supplements
Beta-alanine supplements are effective for boosting athletic performance. Research has shown that taking beta-alanine supplements increases carnosine levels up to 80%, improving some measures of athletic performance. In simple words, it helps you exercise for more extended periods because it increases the time to exhaustion.
According to a study, four weeks of supplementing cyclists with beta-alanine supplements increased the work completed by 13% and increased by an additional 3.2% after ten weeks of supplementation. In a similar cycling test, 20men increased their time to exhaustion by 13-14% following four weeks of beta-alanine supplementation.
Beta-alanine supplementation also benefits body composition by promoting muscle growth and training volume. Beta-alanine can boost exercise volume, increasing lean muscle mass, although there is insufficient evidence for this.
For older adults, beta-alanine supplements have been found to enhance muscle endurance. Some studies have shown that taking beta-alanine supplements delays muscle tiredness in older adults and improves physical performance.
Beta-alanine supplements increase carnosine levels which reduces muscle acidity that leads to fatigue during high-intensity exercises. Therefore, it helps reduce fatigue by increasing exercise capacity and muscle endurance.