SoNutrition is an ever-changing field. With new advancements and modern research being carried out, more and more nutrients and the various benefits that accompany them are being discovered.  One such compound that is gaining a lot of fame worldwide is beta-alanine. From boosting muscle activity to enhancing the immune system, beta-alanine has several significant impacts on overall health and everyday life. Moreover, beta-alanine is very common and talked about supplement among fitness enthusiasts.

So what is it?

Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid found inside the human body in the muscles & brain naturally. Being a nonessential amino acid it is produced by the body itself and does not have to be taken by food consumption. As opposed to other amino acids, beta-alanine is not used by the body to make proteins. Instead, it produces carnosine which uplifts overall well-being and exercise performance.

Function of Beta-Alanine

The primary function of beta-alanine inside our body is to produce another amino acid known as carnosine. This amino acid is stored inside the brain and muscles and aids in reducing fatigue. This role is achieved due to the combining of beta-alanine with another essential amino acid called L-histidine.

Benefits of Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine confers many health benefits which accounts for its popularity in the health and fitness world. The most important benefits of this wonder nutrient include the following:

  • Improved athletic performance: Beta-alanine has a significant effect on improving athletic performance. There is a positive correlation between these two. Furthermore, it also improves resistance training volume among gym enthusiasts.
  • Enhanced physical performance: This holds true when talking about the benefits of beta-alanine in elderly adults. It has been shown through research that beta-alanine supplements help in enhancing physical performance in elderly people by delaying muscle tiredness and fatigue.
  • Increased muscle mass: Beta-alanine increases the amount of oxygen that is taken up by the body. This further increases the ventilatory threshold, endurance, and lean body mass. Although little proof is available to support this claim yet it has been suggested that beta-alanine decreases body fat which leaves more space for increasing fat-free mass.
  • Puts off the onset of fatigue: Fatigue and exhaustion are delayed. This has a positive impact on high-intensity exercise. Lactic acid production is also delayed hence preventing fatigue.
  • Decreased anxiety: Beta-alanine promotes the production of carnosine and serotonin inside the brain. Levels of brain associated factors are reduced which ultimately aid in maintaining a normal concentration of such factors that are linked to anxiety.
  • Improved cognitive function: Beta-alanine is linked to improved cognitive functions although sufficient studies are not available to support this benefit.  
  • Combat aging: Carnosine is produced as a result of beta-alanine which is responsible for reducing the onset of aging.

Beta-Alanine Sources and Dosage

Like every other useful nutrient, beta-alanine is present in foods especially protein-rich foods such as meat and fish. Dietary supplements are also widely available in markets to complement the intake of beta-alanine not being met by food intake alone. The dosage and timing of supplementation play a crucial role in the outcomes that are to be experienced. The standard recommended dose of beta-alanine is 4 to 6 grams per day for at least 4 weeks. A well-sustained higher dose of 12 grams per day is also considered safe and effectual.

Side effects of Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine supplements have been associated with a few side effects as reported by various people who have used them. Taking an excessive dose of beta-alanine can lead to paresthesia which is commonly described as a tingling sensation of the skin. It is mostly experienced in face, neck or hands. Flushing has also been reported along with tingling. Another side effect is a reduction in amounts of taurine levels as it competes with beta-alanine for absorption in the muscles. The data that supports these side effects is limited and seen in individuals who consume high doses hence beta-alanine is considered safe for healthy individuals who consume it in appropriate amounts.

Final Thoughts:

Beta-alanine works wonders for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who consume it to enhance their performance by boosting exercise capacity and reducing muscle weariness. You can get beta-alanine by consuming foods rich in carnosine or by taking supplements. Although the use of beta-alanine has been linked to some side effects yet it is a significantly effective supplement that improves exercise performance.