by Truth Fry September 29, 2022 4 min read
Have you ever been in the middle of a workout and felt like your muscles burned so much you wanted to quit? That burning sensation gets hard to push through, and definitely gets uncomfortable too.
This is the same uncomfortable feeling that can stop you from pushing yourself. But, it can also hold back your overall performance and the results you get.
There has to be some way to help with this sensation, right?
Well, believe it or not, there is! Have you ever heard of beta-alanine?
If you haven't ... it is one of the quickest ways to increase your muscular endurance for workouts. Let me tell you all about beta-alanine, and why it can be a great investment for your workouts!
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. We also get more of it when we eat meat, fish, poultry, or even use certain supplements.
If you've ever had a pre-workout drink that makes you feel itchy ... what you're experiencing is beta-alanine at work.
One of the main uses for beta-alanine in the body is creating the compound called carnosine. I’ll go further into how carnosine gets created using beta-alanine in a minute ... but first, what does carnosine do?
Carnosine has many health benefits, but when it comes to increasing performance in the gym, it can help delay fatigue in the working muscle. This allows you to push yourself for longer in each set.
Beta-alanine is required to make this happen.
It’s really cool how beta-alanine works to enhance performance, but it can be complicated to understand. So, I’m going to keep things very simple.
When you push yourself in a workout, your muscles produce acid as a byproduct. This is why your muscles tend to burn so much when you work out.
That burning sensation may be stopping you from really maximizing your workouts. I know for me, it makes those last reps feel like 1,000 pounds! Either way, I think we can all agree that the "burning" feeling is not fun to deal with.
This is where beta-alanine comes into play, and things get really cool. Beta-alanine binds with the amino acid L-histidine in the muscle to create carnosine.
Carnosine acts as an acid buffer in the muscle during exercise. So, as your muscles start producing more acid, the carnosine is essentially neutralizing that acid and reducing the burn.
This allows you to push yourself longer before that burning sensation overtakes you. If you can squeeze out a couple more reps in each set, theoretically, you'll see better results...
Who doesn't want that?!
Other than helping with the "burning" sensation ... beta-alanine has been shown to produce a long list of benefits:
• Increase time to exhaustion during intense exercise
• May help to increase muscle mass over time as a result of longer, more intense training sessions
Increases muscle carnosine levels better than ingesting carnosine itself. This may also help with:
• Reducing free radicals in the body due to its antioxidant properties
• Reducing inflammation in the body
• Anti-aging effects in the body
• Conditions such as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, and autism
Studies show that a proper dose of beta-alanine ranges from 4-6 grams per day (1). It should also be taken regularly for at least 4 weeks for the greatest benefit to athletic performance.
So, I'm sure you're wondering, "Well, how can I make sure to get enough beta-alanine?" Believe it or not, there are a lot of supplements that contain beta-alanine!
In fact, it seems like just about every pre-workout on the market has beta-alanine. Each scoop of your average pre-workout usually has 1-3.2 grams of beta-alanine.
The only known side effects of beta-alanine supplementation is a temporary tingling sensation in the skin. People can experience this feeling all over their body ... for me, I always feel it in my ears!
This is called Paraesthesia, and it typically only lasts several minutes. There is no evidence that suggests it to be harmful in any way.
To put it simply, beta-alanine is an awesome supplement that can benefit your performance in the gym. And if you're an athlete, beta-alanine can be great for sports performance too!
By decreasing muscle fatigue, and increasing time to exhaustion ... you can help increase muscular endurance during your training sessions. Over time, this can also help you gain more muscle tissue, because you're simply able to increase your training volume.
Supplementing with beta-alanine also increases carnosine levels in the muscle, brain, and heart. This has many potential benefits for your overall health ... anti-aging benefits being one of them.
If you are competitive, and want to maximize your athletic performance ... beta-alanine is something that can really help take you to the next level. That's why we made sure to include 3.2g of beta-alanine in our full-spectrum pre-workout, Project-1.
If you have more questions about beta-alanine, or any other supplement for that matter, reach out to us! We have a full staff of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches. You can also give us a call at 1-800-409-9732.
Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, Hoffman JR, Wilborn CD, Sale C, Kreider RB, Jäger R, Earnest CP, Bannock L, Campbell B, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss TN, Antonio J. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jul 15;12:30. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y. PMID: 26175657; PMCID: PMC4501114.
BS Exercise Science NASM Certified Personal Trainer NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist