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What is Beta-Alanine?

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  • Written By: L. Roux
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Beta-alanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body. The body can manufacture beta-alanine in the liver and, therefore, it is classified as a non-essential amino acid. Unlike normal alanine, beta-alanine is not used in protein synthesis, and it is also referred to as a beta amino acid.

The benefits of beta-alanine include increased muscle mass and strength, increased aerobic endurance and decreased muscle fatigue. This amino acid is usually used by bodybuilders and athletes when doing weight training, as it may increase the athlete's muscle strength and endurance. The benefits of this supplement can usually be noticed within the first two weeks of supplementation.

Beta-alanine works by increasing the production of carnosine, a peptide that can be found in muscle fibers. Carnosine buffers the hydrogen molecules that are released during exercise and thereby normalizes the pH level of the muscles. Beta-alanine may, therefore, be directly responsible for the endurance and recovery process of the muscles in the body.

Many bodybuilders make use of this amino acid to decrease their resting periods between exercise sets. This increases the intensity of the workout and may lead to increased muscle gains. It will also reduce the amount of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles, helping to reduce the muscle soreness that many athletes experience after a hard workout.

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Beta-alanine may be found in various foods like beef, chicken and fish. It may also be found in health supplements such as meal replacement powders or protein supplements. Whey protein is another good source of this amino acid, and it is commonly used as a dietary supplement by athletes. This amino acid may also be taken separately in the form of capsules.

The recommended dosage for beta-alanine is about 0.15 ounces (about 4 grams) per day, and this may be increased depending on the individual's needs. Athletes may also choose to begin with a loading phase, where a higher dosage is taken for the first week. It is also recommended that individuals take this supplement with carbohydrates in order to optimize its absorption into the muscle cells.

Beta-alanine is generally considered to be safe. Recent studies have shown that taking this amino acid over a 12-week period resulted in no negative side effects. More research may be needed, however, to further understand the influence of this amino acid in the body.

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