When it comes to improving exercise performance, there are countless supplements on the market that claim to provide the edge you need. But one supplement that has been scientifically proven to boost performance is beta-alanine. This non-essential amino acid plays a key role in buffering acid buildup in muscles during high-intensity exercise, which can delay muscle fatigue and improve exercise performance.
What is Beta-Alanine and How Does it Work?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that the body uses to produce carnosine. Carnosine acts as a buffer for acid buildup in muscles, which can occur during high-intensity exercise. When acid buildup occurs, it can cause fatigue, muscle failure, and a decrease in performance. By increasing muscle carnosine levels, beta-alanine can help to delay muscle fatigue and improve exercise performance.
One of the primary benefits of beta-alanine is its ability to improve high-intensity exercise performance. Studies have shown that supplementing with beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine levels by up to 80% in just four weeks. This can lead to improvements in powerlifting, sprinting, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, participants who supplemented with beta-alanine for four weeks improved their HIIT performance by 13.2% compared to a placebo group.
Another benefit of beta-alanine is its ability to improve endurance exercise performance. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that supplementing with beta-alanine for four weeks improved endurance exercise performance by 11.4%. This can be beneficial for athletes or individuals who participate in endurance sports such as cycling or running.
But beta-alanine isn't just effective on its own. It's also often combined with other performance-enhancing supplements, such as creatine. Research has shown that the combination of beta-alanine and creatine is more effective at improving exercise performance than either supplement alone. In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants who supplemented with a combination of beta-alanine and creatine for eight weeks improved their powerlifting performance by 11.5% compared to a placebo group.
Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that the combination of beta-alanine and creatine also improved cycling performance. Participants who supplemented with the combination for six weeks improved their cycling performance by 32% compared to a placebo group.
Beta-alanine may also help to reduce muscle damage caused by exercise. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementing with beta-alanine for four weeks reduced muscle damage caused by eccentric exercise by 31%. Eccentric exercise is a type of exercise that causes muscle damage, such as the lowering phase of a bicep curl.
Safety and Dosage
While beta-alanine is considered safe to use in recommended dosages, some people may experience a tingling sensation on their skin, called paresthesia, which is harmless and usually goes away within an hour or two after taking the supplement.
To see significant improvements in muscle carnosine levels and exercise performance, it is recommended to take beta-alanine in doses of 3-6 grams per day, ideally taken in smaller doses throughout the day to maintain steady blood levels. It should be taken for at least four weeks to see results.
In conclusion, beta-alanine is a powerful supplement that can help to improve exercise performance by increasing muscle carnosine levels. Whether you're a competitive athlete or just looking to boost your fitness, beta-alanine is worth considering as a supplement. It's been scientifically proven to improve high-intensity and endurance exercise performance, and when combined with creatine, it can provide even greater benefits. If you're looking to take your exercise performance to the next level, beta-alanine is a supplement that's worth considering.