Amino Acids: Beta Alanine - Mind And Muscle

woman lifting weight plateThis is a somewhat new item that was first introduced by MAN sports a few years ago.  This item is now all the rage when it comes to sports supplements and you will be hard pressed to find a new creatine or NO blend without Beta Alanine.  Luckily, Beta Alanine is as good as all the hype for increasing strength, stamina and recovery.  Beta Alanine converts into muscle carnosine with the addition of Histdine (a very plentiful amino acid).  Muscle carnosine can really increase strength and recovery through the recharging of anti-oxidants and direct reduction of H+ free radicals.  The process of recharging ATP via creatine causes the production of H+ free radicals (hydrogen), which can cause muscle damage, increased aging and slower metabolism. Carnosine via Beta Alanine has been shown in numerous studies to reduce fatigue and increase the positive effects of creatine supplementation.  This is probably the most exciting amino acid type nutrient to hit the market in many years.

Buffering lactic acid and other negative effects of exercise is the main method muscle carnosine and Beta Alanine work.  It also seems to have a direct ergogenic aid besides being a buffer.  The reported strength increases are unparalleled and Beta Alanine is implicated in many performance athletes’ strength gains.  The buffering of respiratory acids and radicals can have a profound effect on aging and cellular repair.  This is one of the best anti-aging supplements on the market, so it is great for older people who wish to increase their lifespan.

The effective dose of Beta Alanine is 1500 – 2000mg per day. It can be taken all at once or in divided doses. However, it does have one down side when consumed, which is an itchy tingle that can be annoying.  This tingle is caused by the stimulation of skin nerve cells in response to the higher beta alanine content. It feels like a niacin flush and lasts from 5-30 minutes.  There is no reason to be alarmed by this flush but it can startle the person using Beta Alanine for the first time.

I think Beta Alainine is one of the key products to use and should be where you spend your supplement dollars once the basics like creatine and protein are budgeted.  Luckily, you can find Beta Alanine in a mix of newer creatine products and, as long as you get over 1000mg per day, you can stack the two in one supplement.  I would put Beta Alanine at the top of any supplement program.

Beta Alanine
This is the base product, an isomer of L-Alanine (not to be confused) that has the benefits discussed in the above article.  Beta Alanine is well-absorbed and does not need these new fancy modifications to be active.  It causes a flush type response as evidence of its efficacy and quick absorption.  The flush response can actually happen in less than 5 minutes.  The only addition to Beta Alanine that could be useful is the addition of an insulin mimetic.

Beta Alanine Ethyl Ester
This is a hybrid product that jumps on the ethyl ester bandwagon.  There is absolutely no data showing Ethyl Ester based amino acids does anything or has any advantage over the straight amino acid.  In fact, the ethyl ester creates ethanol in the body and dilutes the amino acids that it is meant to help absorb.  There is no reason to believe that the ethyl ester is good for anything and I would avoid these products since they are useless.

This is just an expensive form of Beta Alanine since it rapidly degrades in the stomach into 60% Beta Alanine and 40% Histadine.  It does have all the same benefits of Beta Alanine but is just far too expensive to use in a sports supplement. It is actually cheaper to just buy histadine and beta alanine and combine them.  There is nothing wrong with Carnosine; it is just not very cost effective.

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