If you've ever taken a preworkout supplement, chances are you've come across the ingredient beta alanine. But what is beta alanine and why is it included in so many preworkout products? In this blog post, we'll be taking an in-depth look at beta alanine and its potential benefits for exercise performance. We'll also be exploring the science behind beta alanine and how it works in the body. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of why beta alanine is a popular choice for preworkout supplements.
What is Beta Alanine?
Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning it is not one of the 20 amino acids that the body uses to build proteins. Instead, beta alanine plays a key role in the synthesis of carnosine, a compound that is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue. Carnosine is thought to act as a buffer in the body, helping to regulate pH levels and reduce the accumulation of hydrogen ions during exercise.
The role of carnosine in exercise performance has been the subject of much research, with some studies suggesting that it may improve muscle endurance and reduce fatigue. While the body does naturally produce beta alanine, supplementing with beta alanine has been shown to increase carnosine levels in muscle tissue, potentially leading to improved exercise performance.
Benefits of Beta Alanine for Exercise Performance:
One of the main benefits of beta alanine supplementation is its potential to improve muscle endurance and reduce fatigue. As mentioned earlier, carnosine acts as a buffer in the body, helping to regulate pH levels and reduce the accumulation of hydrogen ions during exercise. When the body produces too many hydrogen ions, the pH levels in the muscles become more acidic, leading to fatigue. By increasing carnosine levels through beta alanine supplementation, it may be possible to delay the onset of fatigue and improve muscle endurance.
In addition to its effects on muscle endurance, beta alanine may also improve exercise performance in other ways. Some studies have shown that beta alanine supplementation can increase the amount of work that can be completed during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and improve muscle strength and power output. Beta alanine may also have a positive effect on muscle mass, with some research suggesting that it may help to increase lean body mass.
How Does Beta Alanine Work in the Body?
So how exactly does beta alanine work in the body to improve exercise performance? As mentioned earlier, beta alanine is involved in the synthesis of carnosine, which acts as a buffer in the muscles. When you take a beta alanine supplement, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the muscles, where it combines with another amino acid called histidine to form carnosine.
The synthesis of carnosine from beta alanine and histidine is a slow process, and it can take several weeks or even months of consistent beta alanine supplementation to see an increase in carnosine levels. However, once carnosine levels are increased, the body is able to more effectively buffer hydrogen ions and maintain pH balance during exercise, potentially leading to improved endurance and reduced fatigue.
Is Beta Alanine Safe?
Beta alanine is generally considered safe for use, with few reported side effects. Some people may experience a tingling sensation on the skin after taking a beta alanine supplement, a condition known as paraesthesia. This sensation is generally not harmful and tends to dissipate over time.