Beta-Alanine The Secret Weapon Of Supplements
To explain this in a way that will make the most sense requires us to start at the end, and work backwards. Photo courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/portrait-of-young-man-326559/
When you train, you’ll eventually get tired. That feeling of fatigue is due to a build of hydrogen ions—which drops your body’s pH levels. The drop of pH levels in your muscles cause you to feel tired, and “hit the wall” in your workout.
There’s a dipeptide molecule called carnosine which can defend against the buildup of hydrogen ions. Taking beta-alanine can help increase the carnosine levels in your muscles. Beta-alanine combines with histidine, both amino acids, to produce carnosine.
So why can’t we just take carnosine, if we’re shooting for an end result of having more of it in our bodies?
I dug a little deeper to discover that taking carnosine itself doesn’t work. Carnosine will break down in your digestive system, and it won’t travel to the muscles and work the way we want it to. Additionally, the amount of carnosine you will need to take for it to be effective will be very expensive.
I also wondered, as you might, if we want histidine and beta-alanine to combine and create carnosine, why not take beta-alanine and histidine supplements together, to help our bodies produce that sought-after carnosine?
Well, you can do it, but most bodybuilders and big-name supplement companies don’t push histidine supplements nearly as hard as they do beta-alanine. I am going to keep digging on this subject until I find the answer, for you and me.
What are the benefits of taking beta-alanine?
The most notable benefit of beta-alanine is that it may delay fatigue in endurance athletes. Beta-alanine is great for endurance athletes like boxers, long distance runners, and cross fitters. Good for them, right, but most of us aren’t any of those three things.
So what if you’re a regular gym-goer, mainly concerned with building muscle size and strength? While those particular athletes may gain the largest benefits from beta-alanine, no studies have shown that the supplement won’t also be beneficial to people doing resistance training to build strength.
How much beta-alanine should I take?
The recommended dosage of beta-alanine, in order to see results, is 2 grams before your workout and 2 grams after. On rest days, take at least 2 grams. (Yes, take it on your rest days too!)
Does Beta-Alanine have side effects?
You might feel a tingly or itchy sensation on your ears, hands, and other parts of the body. But that’s normal—no need for concern. If the sensation is bothering you, consult your doctor and decrease your beta-alanine dosage.
Beta-Alanine—What you need to know
Beta-alanine creates carnosine, a molecule in your body that defends against lactic acid build-up. Carnosine helps your muscles work longer without fatigue. Beta-alanine supplements work best for endurance-type athletes, like cross fitters and runners, but should give a boost to anyone who works out.
Take 2 grams before and after the gym (for a total of 4) and 2 grams on your rest days. It’s normal to feel an itchy/tingly feeling, so don’t worry. And for better results, combine the supplement with creatine..
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