Beta-alanine is a common supplement that enhances athletes’ health and body performance. The increased performance strengthens athletes, prolongs the exhaustion time, provides the body with antioxidants, and promotes muscle growth. As such, here is a complete guide to Beta-alanine.
Beta-alanine is a special amino acid that works with histidine to produce carnosine, later stored in the body muscles. It is an essential substance that reduces lactic acid that accumulates in the muscles after exercise. Accumulation of lactic acid causes fatigue and muscle cramps that might affect athletes’ performance.
Using this supplement improves the body’s performance quality and increases exercise endurance. Older adults and young people also use this supplement to improve their general body performance as it gives energy to the muscles. Therefore, reading through this blog helps you understand how beta-alanine is used, its health benefits, how it works, and its side effects.
Benefits of Beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is administered in different doses to achieve various results. However, it would help if you were careful not to overuse it as it may have side effects on your body. Using this special amino acid helps the body in the following ways:
Prolong Time to Exhaustion
Taking beta-alanine helps athletes to take longer before becoming exhausted, allowing one to run for long distances. Targeted studies showed that cyclists who used this supplement four weeks before the exercise took longer before becoming tired compared to those who had not used the supplement.
Increases the Athletes’ Strength
Beta-alanine increases muscle strength boosting the performance of the athlete. It also eliminates the lactic acid that accumulates in the muscles, which causes muscle cramps and general fatigue. As a result, athletes using it can perform high-intensity exercises without much strain.
Promotes Muscle Growth
A study showed that taking beta-alanine can increase muscle mass. Young people who took this supplement showed a faster increase in their body size due to the growth of lean muscles. It may also cause an increase in body weight due to muscle growth. However, more research is required to support this finding.
Provides the Body with Antioxidants
Carnosine is rich in antioxidants which are beneficial to the body as they fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Free radicals may undergo oxidation in the body, causing diseases such as cancer and high blood pressure.
Antioxidants also help in fighting inflammation in the body, which may cause diseases such as arthritis. They may also improve immunity by fighting bacterial infections. Animal and test-tube studies showed that antioxidants have anti-aging effects. However, more research is needed to show its effectiveness on humans.
Improves Performance in Elderly People
Older adults have weaker muscles that affect their general performance. Some supplements may aid in improving their performance. A study showed that older adults who took beta-alanine showed delays in muscle fatigue and improved physical performance.
Used to Treat Menopause Symptoms
Some symptoms, such as hot flashes in menopause, are quite common and disturbing. Some drug such as veralipride is used to reduce such symptoms. Although Beta-alanine can also work to reduce such symptoms, more research is needed to support the finding.
Improves Brain Function Under Stress
Some soldiers who took beta-alanine had improved brain function during combat practice. Other soldiers did not show any improvement in their brain function after taking this supplement. There is a need for thorough research to show how effective this supplement is in improving cognitive functions.
How Beta-alanine Works
Beta-alanine levels in the body are usually lower than histidine, limiting the production of carnosine. Taking beta-alanine raises the carnosine level in the muscles. An increase in carnosine in the body facilitates the breakdown of glucose which provides strength to the body. During exercise, muscles break down glucose into lactic acid. The lactic acid is later converted into lactate, producing hydrogen ions in the body. The hydrogen ions make the muscles more acidic, which reduces the breakdown of glucose, hence causing fatigue. Increasing carnosine by taking beta-alanine reduces the muscle’s acidity eliminating fatigue.
One can combine Beta-alanine with sodium bicarbonate to enhance body performance by reducing fatigue. It can also be combined with creatine to enhance high-intensity exercises by increasing adenosine triphosphate production.
Side Effects of Beta-alanine
- Excess intake of this supplement may cause skin tingling, which mostly occurs on the face, hands, and neck.
- Taking excess beta-alanine may decrease taurine levels in the body. Taurine is beneficial to the heart and brain functions. Therefore, its reduction may also affect the nerves’ function and increase the chances of high blood pressure.
- High intake of this supplement may cause a hyper- beta-alanine condition, which causes damage to the brain and breathing problems.
- There is no reliable information on its safety for breastfeeding mothers; hence this group should also supplement. Pregnant women may attempt to use these supplements to boost their body energy and decrease fatigue experienced during this period. However, there exists no reliable information about its safety on pregnant mothers. As such, it would be wise for expecting mothers to avoid it
- for their safety and their children.
Beta-alanine supplements are taken orally. Athletes should take 2.4-6.4 grams per day for not more than ten weeks. However, those practicing high-intensity exercises should take more of the supplement than those who participate in low-intensity exercises, provided they remain on the daily limit.
Elderly adults who take these supplements to increase their physical performance should take 800 mg thrice a day for a maximum of 28 days.
Other Sources of Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is not only found in supplements but also in natural foods. These foods include those rich in proteins, such as fish and meat.
The beta-alanine supplement is generally used to improve body performance. Athletes mostly use it to prolong exhaustion time and increase their body strength. It is also used to treat menopause symptoms and increase muscles strength in older adults. However, overusing this supplement may cause skin tingling and lower taurine levels in the body. Pregnant and lactating mothers should also avoid beta-alanine for their health and children’s safety.