What is a
beta-alanine?

Have you ever wondered how to naturally boost your sporting performance, delay muscle fatigue and perhaps even improve your long-term health? The answer may well lie in this amino acid: beta-alanine. But what exactly is beta-alanine, and how does it work in our bodies? 

In our article, we dive deep into these questions to demystify beta-alanine and reveal how it could transform your training routine.

Table of contents

What is beta-alanine?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that your body can produce it itself. It plays a crucial role in sports performance and muscle building, in particular by increasing carnosine levels in the muscles.

You'll find beta-alanine naturally in certain foods, mainly white meats such as chicken and turkey, as well as in fish. These food sources provide modest amounts of beta-alanine, but for significant effects on performance, supplementation is often necessary.

Unlike other amino acids that build proteins directly, beta-alanine is distinguished by its specific role in the synthesis of carnosine. This difference makes it the supplement of choice for those looking to improve their endurance and reduce muscle fatigue.

Now that we've seen where beta-alanine comes from and how it differs from other amino acids, let's look at its mechanism of action and its concrete benefits for your sporting performance.

How does beta-alanine work?

Beta-alanine increases carnosine levels in muscles through a simple but effective process. When ingested, it combines with another amino acid, histidine, to form carnosine. This is then stored in the muscles.

The role of carnosine is crucial during intense exercise. During exercise, your body produces hydrogen ions (H+), which are responsible for the muscle acidity that causes the fatigue and burning you feel. Carnosine acts as a buffer by neutralising these H+ ions, helping to maintain the muscle pH at an optimal level. In simple terms, it reduces the acidity in your muscles, helping to prolong effort and delay fatigue.

Carnosine's ability to buffer acidity has a significant effect on your performance. By reducing acid build-up, your muscles can work longer and more efficiently. This translates into a significant improvement in endurance.

What are the benefits of beta-alanine for sports performance?

Improved muscular endurance

Beta-alanine is widely recognised for its ability to improve muscular endurance. By increasing carnosine levels in the muscles, it helps delay the onset of fatigue. This means you can sustain intense efforts for longer before you feel that unpleasant muscle burning sensation.

Reduced muscle fatigue

Another key benefit of beta-alanine is the reduced muscle fatigue. By buffering the acidity produced during exercise, carnosine helps to prolong the duration of effort without compromising performance. You'll feel less exhausted after intensive training sessions, so you can train more often and more effectively.

Effects on performance during intense, short-duration exercise

Beta-alanine is particularly effective for high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as sprinting, fast cycling and strength training. Studies show that athletes who take beta-alanine can improve their time to exhaustion and increase their power output during these types of exercise.

Studies and scientific evidence

Numerous scientific studies support the benefits of beta-alanine. For example, a meta-analysis published in the " Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition In a recent study, a study entitled "Beta-alanine supplementation" revealed that beta-alanine supplementation significantly improves performance in activities lasting between one and four minutes. These results show that beta-alanine can be a valuable addition to your supplement regime if you're looking to improve your sporting performance.

How should beta-alanine be used and what is the correct dosage?

To maximise the benefits of beta-alanineIt is essential to follow the appropriate dosage recommendations. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts should take between 3 and 6 grams of beta-alanine a day. This dose can be divided into several doses to minimise side effects, such as paresthesia (tingling sensation).

You can find beta-alanine in different forms, mainly in powder and capsules. The powder can be easily mixed into your protein shakes or pre-workout shakes, while the capsules offer convenience.

The timing of supplementation is also crucial. For optimum results, it's advisable to take beta-alanine throughout the day, rather than all at once. For example, you can divide the daily dose into four 1.5 gram doses. Some people prefer to take a dose before training for an immediate boost, but the key is to take it regularly and consistently.

What are the side effects and precautions to be taken with beta-alanine?

The most common side effect of beta-alanine is paresthesia, a tingling sensation on the skin. Although this sensation is harmless, it can be unpleasant for some people.

To minimise this effect, divide your daily dose into several small doses throughout the day (for example, 1.5 grams four times a day). This will reduce the intensity of the tingling.

Certain populations should consult a healthcare professional before starting to use beta-alanine. This includes people with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and anyone taking specific medications.

Our pre-workout with beta-alanine

The integration of beta-alanine in our pre-workout Dix is a major asset for those looking to improve their sporting performance. By increasing carnosine levels, beta-alanine helps to buffer muscle acidity, reducing fatigue and enabling more intense and longer training sessions. If you're looking for increased endurance and reduced muscle fatigue, our pre-workout is designed to meet these needs thanks to its advanced formulation and high-quality ingredients.

Our pre-workout Dix also contains other powerful ingredients such as L-citrulline, L-tyrosine and Rhodiola rosea, all backed by science to maximise your performance. The combination of these elements gives you sustained energy, improved concentration and a significant reduction in muscle fatigue. 

Studies and sources

  1. Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Boobis L, Coakley J, Kim HJ, et al. The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids. 2006;30(3):279-89. doi: 10.1007/s00726-006-0299-9. - DOI – PubMed
  2. Dunnett M, Harris RC. Influence of oral beta-alanine and L-histidine supplementation on the carnosine content of the gluteus medius. Equine Vet J Suppl. 1999;30:499-504. - PubMed
  3. Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, Harris BD, Sale C, Boobis LH, et al. Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity. Amino Acids. 2007;32(2):225-33. doi: 10.1007/s00726-006-0364-4. - DOI – PubMed
  4. Baguet A, Reyngoudt H, Pottier A, Everaert I, Callens S, Achten E, et al. Carnosine loading and washout in human skeletal muscles. J Appl Physiol. 2009;106(3):837-42. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91357.2008. - DOI – PubMed
  5. Harris RC, Jones G, Hill CH, Kendrick IP, Boobis L, Kim CK, et al. The carnosine content of vastus lateralis in vegetarians and omnivores. FASEB J. 2007;21:76.20. doi: 10.1096/fj.06-6925com. - DOI
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