Beta-alanine is a popular amino acid supplement used to enhance athletic and exercise performance. It improves cardiovascular fitness and reduces muscle fatigue and acidity build-up. Read ahead to learn how beta-alanine may improve your health and what are the risks associated with its use.
Beta-alanine (β-Alanine) is an amino acid naturally found in muscles and the brain. Together with histidine, it creates carnosine, which helps reduce acid build-up during exercise. Despite combined signs of success, it’s marketed as a supplement under names such as Carnosyn and its slow release version, SR CarnoSyn.
Beta-alanine is the most successful during anaerobic exercise (extreme and exhaustive exercise that leads to lactic acid to collect in the muscles), for example, high-intensity period training or sprinting. Most importantly, it delays fatigue during repeated bouts of intense exercise with brief recovery intervals.
Women and drinkers have lower amounts of muscle carnosine than men and meat-eaters, respectively. What’s more, body carnosine naturally decreases with age. These groups may particularly benefit from beta-alanine supplementation.
The single confirmed complication is tingling. However, lower or time-released doses may lower this impact.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid formed from the liver or from gut microbes.
It binds to histamine in joints and the brain to make carnosine. Beta-alanine increases carnosine in joints and the brain, also helps muscles withstand acid build-up.
Additionally, it serves as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and a neuromodulator. As an example, beta-alanine inhibits the uptake of this amino acid taurine in cells; this can cause oxidative stress, cell damage, and respiratory problems.
Furthermore, beta-alanine is an aggressive GABA antagonist (blocker) that additionally inhibits nerve cell activity.
Health Benefits of Beta-alanine
Possibly Effective for:
1) Athletic Performance
In just two meta-analyses of 18,000 individuals, beta-alanine improved exercise power and capability, but not functionality. Beta-alanine was most effective for exercise lasting 30 minutes to ten minutes.
Success varied due to the athletic condition of the subjects, and also the sort of exercise or sport tested. For instance, beta-alanine improved short-lasting and high-intensity exercise (anaerobic exercise, lasting 1 to 4 min).
What’s more, beta-alanine improved resistance training volume and functionality for athletes that play in team sports, which may enhance game performance.
For instance, a 6-week study of 15 male water polo players showed improved throwing speed through a diligent sprint and 200 m swimming operation after taking 6.4 grams of beta-alanine daily.
In another study of 25 female football players, beta-alanine improved repeated sprinting, jumping, and endurance. Notably, a study of 20 combat soldiers saw comparable jump results.
However, other studies have proven that beta-alanine does not improve repetitive sprint performance in athletes who took 6g/day.
Overall, however, tendencies imply that non-athletes benefit from beta-alanine through lab-based, but not in area evaluations. Furthermore, athletes show some progress in both athletic performance and high-intensity training. In team sports, beta-alanine appears to boost resistance training functionality and quantity.
A review showed that beta-alanine improves soldiers’ operation, especially during short bursts of high-intensity battle (lasting 1 to 5 minutes).
At a 4-week study of 20 elite combat soldiers, beta-alanine enhanced jumping power, shooting speed, and marksmanship.
Another 30-day analysis of 18 elite combat soldiers showed combined improvements. Beta-alanine improved speed throughout a 50-m casualty carry exercise and improved cognitive functionality while under strain. But, it did not enhance running, sprinting, or marksmanship.
Although research indicates beta-alanine improves many aspects of military battle, the evidence is restricted and some results are mixed. More studies are needed.
2) Delaying Fatigue and Reducing Lactic Acid in Muscles
Several human studies concluded that beta-alanine delays fatigue and fatigue. However, it is important to note that there’s insufficient evidence analyzing its safety.
A meta-analysis of all 360 individuals revealed that beta-alanine enhanced high-intensity workout that lasts over a moment.
An overview on the subject found that beta-alanine decreased acid build-up during a high-intensity anaerobic performance, which delayed fatigue.
In a 4-week study of 14 male students, beta-alanine reduced muscle acid during high-intensity cycling.
Beta-alanine also decreased fatigue in two research of 15 trained sprinters and 51 non-athletic men.
However, individual advancement widely fluctuates. For instance, at a 5-week sprint study of 11 guys, beta-alanine neither enhanced functionality nor decreased fatigue.
In conclusion, the evidence supporting the role of beta-alanine in reducing fatigue and lactic acid buildup in the muscles is promising but limited and contains some research with mixed results. Further research in people is required to affirm it.
Insufficient Evidence for:
1) Muscle Building
In a 3-week analysis of 46 men experiencing high-intensity interval training, beta-alanine increased oxygen consumption and ventilatory threshold (the stage during a workout when oxygen use surpasses oxygen intake), endurance, stamina, and lean body mass.
In a similar 8-week analysis of 44 girls, beta-alanine decreased body fat and increased fat-free mass and general body mass.
Although the results are promising, the signs to claim that beta-alanine helps boost muscle mass is based on two clinical trials that are small. Additional research on bigger populations is needed to validate these preliminary findings.
A preliminary study suggests that beta-alanine may reap the elderly. 18 elderly patients underwent improved exercise capacity after taking beta-alanine for 3 weeks in 1 study.
This amino acid also enhanced leg muscle functioning in older mice.
Beta-alanine creates the molecule carnosine in muscles. Carnosine reduced aging-related stress (glycoxidant stress) in old rats. This type of pressure damages cells and raises the danger of age-related chronic illness.
In old mice, beta-alanine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) improved lifespan.
A single little clinical trial and few animal studies cannot be considered conclusive evidence that beta-alanine has antimicrobial potential. Larger, stronger clinical trials are necessary.
3) Cognitive Role Under Stress
In a 30-day study of 18 elite soldiers, beta-alanine improved cognitive function during battle practice.
However, in other research of 20 elite soldiers and 19 athletes, the subjects didn’t have improved brain function under the stressful and ordinary states.
Further clinical research is warranted to shed some light on the effects of beta-alanine in cognitive function under stressful conditions.
Animal Research (Lack of Proof )
Other possible health benefits of beta-alanine are investigated in animals. But, there is absolutely no proof that their results may be the same in people.
Anxiety and PTSD
Beta-alanine promotes carnosine and dopamine in the brain. Carnosine decreased anxiety in rodents. It raised the anti-anxiety molecule brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which can be lower in rodents using PTSD. Beta-alanine may decrease stress by maintaining a standard concentration of this molecule.
Beta-alanine may also decrease PTSD-like behavior. In rats, beta-alanine enhanced PTSD behavior and preserved normal levels of BDNF.
But a similar rodent study didn’t reveal behavioral enhancement.
In rodents, beta-alanine reduced behavioral changes from mild traumatic brain injury.
Side Effects & Precautions
High Beta-alanine Amounts
Remember that the security profile and possible negative consequences of beta-alanine taken as a nutritional supplement have been carefully researched. Therefore, the list of side effects below isn’t a certain one. You need to consult your doctor about other possible side effects according to your health condition and possible medication or nutritional supplement interactions.
High doses (> 800 milligrams ) of beta-alanine may trigger tingles (paresthesia) or itching. It causes itching by binding and triggering MRGPRD, a G-protein-coupled receptor found in the skin’s sensory neurons.
You may reduce tingling by:
Taking doses under 800 mg
Accepting slow-release doses (sustained-release doses), which gradually release beta-alanine over time
Other side effects have not been well researched.
But some users report flushing/hot flashes.
High beta-alanine levels are associated with some health risks, even though the studies didn’t clearly demonstrate beta-alanine as their origin. Since the studies have only been conducted in animals, there is no proof that this amino acid will have the exact same effect in people.
1) May Cause Allergic Pressure
A research on hyper-beta-alaninemia (elevated beta-alanine levels) in rat cells discovered that beta-alanine improved free radicals diminished oxygen intake and triggered clinical death. This decreased cell energy generation and triggered oxidative stress, which can lead to heart failure.
In rats, chronic beta-alanine supplementation increased reactive oxygen species from the brain (cerebral cortex and cerebellum) and decreased antioxidant activity.
However, the molecular byproduct of beta-alanine, carnosine, really functions as an antioxidant that protects against Parkinson’s disease in rats. In rat intelligence, it inhibits programmed brain cell death, raises antioxidants, and decreases reactive oxygen species (ROS).
2 ) Hyper-beta-alanemia
Hyper-beta-alaninemia is an uncommon disorder that increases levels of beta-alanine. It causes brain damage, decreased muscle tone, and breathing problems. Individuals with this condition shouldn’t take beta-alanine.
3) May Contribute to GABA-Transaminase Deficiency
GABA-transaminase lack is a seizure disorder (epileptic encephalopathy) which also causes rapid growth in babies. It’s associated with increased beta-alanine in the backbone, and it is possible that GABA-transaminase lack and hyper-beta-alaninemia are variants of the exact same disorder.
Low Beta-alanine Levels
The conditions we discuss below are correlated with low beta-alanine levels, however, the studies have not demonstrated it as their cause. Work with your doctor to discover what underlying condition might be causing low levels of this amino acid and to develop a suitable plan to boost your health.
May Contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
During chronic fatigue syndrome, the body discharges beta-alanine to the pee.
In a study of 76 individuals, four people with chronic fatigue syndrome released elevated amounts of beta-alanine through their urine. However, they represented only a small subset of these 33 chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
Still another study of 65 people found more significant consequences; chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers released significantly more beta-alanine in their urine.
Also, higher beta-alanine amounts in the urine were connected with:
- Higher symptom incidence
- Increased symptom severity
- Persistent fatigue symptoms (nausea, muscle fatigue, dizziness, aggravation, tingling, and eye discomfort because of light)
- Physical symptoms of psychiatric disorders (Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) somatization)
Interactions with Different Supplements
Beta-alanine is sometimes stacked with other supplements that supposedly improve its effects on athletic performance. Although the study found positive results for some of these mixtures, the evidence to back them is inadequate. Speak to your doctor before combining beta-alanine along with different supplements.
1) Beta-alanine and Creatine
In a 10-week analysis of 33 male school soccer players, combined supplements improved lean body mass and decreased body fat over creatine supplements alone.
2) Beta-alanine and Sodium Bicarbonate
In a 4-week analysis of 37 athletes, combined supplements enhanced functionality, perceived effort, and the total sum of exercise work done.
3) Beta-alanine and Taurine
High concentrations of beta-alanine decreased taurine levels in rats.
However, the recommended dose for a beta-alanine nutritional supplement is too low to induce taurine depletion.
By way of instance, a study of 13 men found that 10 weeks of beta-alanine supplementation didn’t reduce taurine amounts.
Taurine supplementation offsets depleted marine caused by beta-alanine. The combined use of beta-alanine and taurine supplements aided mice fight muscle fatigue.
Resources of beta-alanine include:
- Protein-rich meals like meat and fish
- Dietary Supplements
Since beta-alanine supplements are not accepted by the FDA for any conditions, there isn’t any official dose. Users and nutritional supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on their expertise.
Dosage and timing affect beta-alanine supplementation outcomes. Beta-alanine triggered exercise improvements with greater doses (3.2-6.4 g/day) taken for at least a month.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) urges 4 to 6 grams/day for 4 months. They divide the doses or utilize sustained-release supplements to lessen tingling.
A higher dose of 12 g/day (sustained-release) can also be safe and effective.
Significantly, in a poll of 167 rugby and 303 soccer players who used beta-alanine, the majority of them didn’t follow supplement recommendations, which might possibly be dangerous.
Beta-alanine vs. L-alanine
L-alanine has become the most common kind of alpha-alanine, a nonessential amino acid within the body. Beta-alanine and L-alanine have exactly the same molecular formula (C3H7NO2). L-alanine helps break down sugar and acid also is still a source of vitality in the body. It also supports the immune system and protein formation.
While beta-alanine increases muscle and brain carnosine, l-alanine increases blood sugar. L-alanine could possibly be utilized to prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in type 1 diabetes.
Limitations and Caveats
Overall, though beta-alanine supplementation appears to have some positive effect on high-intensity, anaerobic exercise, it may have little impact on aerobic exercise performance.
Gender, age, diet, and physical composition may influence beta-alanine’s influence on performance. Groups most likely to benefit from beta-alanine comprise:
- The older
- People with elevated levels of Type I muscle fibers/low amounts of Type II muscle fibers
There’s limited information on how beta-alanine affects long-term training. Furthermore, the sole confirmed side effect is tingling. Additional research should focus on identifying any other side-effects.
Additionally, some health effects are only seen in animal or cell research studies. Take caution when using beta-alanine because of its supposed health benefits.
Do not take beta-alanine supplements if you have hyper-beta-alaninemia or GABA-transaminase lack.
The opinions expressed in this section are only those of beta-alanine users who might or might not have scientific or medical training. Their testimonials don’t represent the opinions of us. We do not endorse any particular product, service, or therapy.
Don’t consider user experiences as medical information. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your health care provider or other qualified healthcare providers due to something you’ve read on this website. We understand that studying individual, real-life encounters can be a very helpful resource, but it’s not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or therapy from a qualified health care provider.
A man reported that beta-alanine delayed muscle fatigue and enhanced his routine. He used it daily and experienced tingling and stomach problems.
A woman said that beta-alanine gained her husband, who had been an active military. A low dose was sufficient to cut back his fatigue.
Furthermore, a middle-aged man said that beta-alanine reduced muscle pain and enhanced functionality. In addition, he reported experiencing hot flashes.