January 16, 2024

Beta-Alanine Supplements: Everything You Need To Know

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Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

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Beta-Alanine Supplements: Everything You Need To Know
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Overview

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid naturally produced in the body.

It's also found in foods like meat, poultry, and fish. In the body, it's converted into carnosine, which acts as a buffer against muscle acid buildup during high-intensity exercise.

This buffering effect can enhance physical performance and is a common reason for its inclusion in sports supplements.

Does Beta-Alanine Build Muscle?

Beta-alanine does not directly build muscle in the way that protein supplements do.

Instead, it enhances exercise performance by reducing muscle fatigue, which may lead to longer, more intense workouts and indirectly contribute to muscle building over time.

What Does Beta-Alanine Do for Bodybuilding?

In bodybuilding, beta-alanine is valued for increasing muscle carnosine levels, improving muscle endurance, and reducing fatigue during high-intensity training. [ref]

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This allows bodybuilders to train harder and for longer periods, potentially enhancing muscle growth and strength over time.

When Should I Take Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine can be taken at any time of the day, as its benefits are not immediately linked to the timing of consumption.

Consistent daily intake is more important for increasing muscle carnosine levels over time rather than specific timing relative to workouts.

Does Beta-Alanine Cause Hair Loss?

There is no direct scientific evidence linking beta-alanine to hair loss.

Genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions can influence hair loss.

If experiencing hair loss, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider.

Does Beta-Alanine Work?

Beta-alanine effectively increases muscle carnosine levels, which helps reduce muscle fatigue and improve exercise performance, particularly in high-intensity activities.

Various studies have supported its effectiveness, especially for short to medium-duration high-intensity exercises.

Continue reading to discover more about the extensive clinical research conducted on beta-alanine.

How to Take Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine can be taken orally in the form of capsules or powder.

The typical dosage ranges from 3.2 to 6.4 grams per day. [ref]

It can be consumed with or without food, and spreading the dosage throughout the day can help reduce the tingling sensation (paresthesia) associated with its use.

How to Take Beta-Alanine Powder?

Beta-alanine powder can be mixed with water or any other beverage.

The recommended dose is generally around 2 to 5 grams, and it can be taken in divided doses throughout the day to minimize skin tingling, a common but harmless side effect.

When Is the Best Time to Take Beta-Alanine?

The best time to take beta-alanine is not specific to any time of the day.

Unlike some supplements, its performance benefits don’t rely on immediate pre- or post-workout consumption.

Consistent daily intake is crucial for maintaining elevated carnosine levels in muscles.

How Much Beta-Alanine is in C4?

The exact amount of beta-alanine in C4 pre-workout supplements can vary depending on the product version.

Many formulations of C4 contain around 1.6 grams of beta-alanine per serving.

It's advisable to check the label of the specific C4 product for accurate dosage information.

What The Research Says

Athletic Performance

Studies have shown that beta-alanine supplementation could slightly improve muscular endurance.

Muscular endurance refers to the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period. It measures how well a muscle can maintain a continuous effort or perform many repetitions of a movement. Muscular endurance can benefit sports like cycling, rowing, running, swimming, and other aerobic exercises.

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A double-blind study examining the effect of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate over 28 days in 51 participants showed that beta-alanine supplementation reduced neuromuscular fatigue. The study also inferred that adding creatine monohydrate did not confer additional benefits. [ref]

A 2012 meta-analysis revealed solid evidence indicating an average increase of 2.85% in muscular endurance for exercises between 60 and 240 seconds. The observed benefits diminished over this duration range and were insignificant for shorter periods. [ref]

Obesity

A 2021 meta-analysis included four human studies encompassing 172 participants aged between 12 and 66 years.

This group comprised two studies with adult type 2 diabetes patients, one study with children having type 1 diabetes, and one study with non-diabetic adults who were overweight or obese.

The duration of the interventions varied from 4 to 12 weeks, with beta-alanine dosage at 4 grams per day in one study and carnosine dosage ranging from 1 to 2 grams per day in three studies. The evidence for all measured outcomes was deemed moderately certain. [ref]

What The Experts Say

International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)

The ISSN has deemed beta-alanine safe at recommended doses (4–6 g daily) for healthy individuals, with paraesthesia as the only notable side effect, which lower divided doses or sustained-release formulas can mitigate.

Supplementation for at least 2-4 weeks has improved short-duration exercise performance (1-4 min), particularly in reducing neuromuscular fatigue, and may benefit older individuals and tactical performance. [ref]

Possible Side Effects Of Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine supplementation, commonly used to enhance exercise performance, can have some side effects, the most notable of which include:

  1. Paresthesia: This is a tingling sensation on the skin, often reported after taking higher doses of beta-alanine. It's usually harmless and temporary.
  2. Flushing: Some individuals may experience flushing or a mild rash due to increased blood flow to the skin.
  3. Gastrointestinal Discomfort: In a few cases, beta-alanine can cause mild stomach discomfort or nausea, especially when taken on an empty stomach.
  4. Numbness: Rarely, high doses might cause numbness in the face or hands.
  5. Interactions with Medications: Beta-alanine might interact with certain medications, so it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider before starting supplementation, especially for those on medication.

It's important to follow recommended dosages to minimize these side effects. Most are mild and subside as the body adjusts to the supplement.

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