Beta-alanine is not a new supplement for individuals who are interested in anti-aging and sports where the anaerobic energy system is used. For the rest of the society, I came across a lot of true/false information about beta-alanine, which is a very unknown amino acid.
For this reason, I need to review beta-alanine.
What is beta-alanine in this article? the question of what use beta-alanine? How to use beta-alanine from beta-alanine metabolism? I will touch on many issues until the question and answer the questions.
If you are ready we go!
What is beta-alanine?
Beta-alanine is a modified form of alanine amino acid, which is densely found in muscles. Beta-alanine, which can be produced in the body, combines with the histidine amino acid when needed and turns into a molecule called carnosine in the cell.
Here, our main hero is carnosine, because it buffers the acidic environment that occurs during intense exercise and promises better endurance and more strength. Of course, many different benefits are expected due to increased exercise performance.
What does beta-alanine do?
Beta alanine is not a complex molecule like other supplements I have reviewed and affects many mechanisms. For this reason, we are a little lucky. Let’s examine the existing mechanisms.
1. Muscle mass and exercise performance
Exercise performance is directly linked to many intramuscular events. One of these events is intramuscular metabolic accumulation.
As you exercise, your muscles use a variety of fuels to generate energy. This is especially important during intense exercise. Because the blood flow to the cells may not be sufficient to carry the waste that occurs during intense exercise.
Any interruption in the waste transport that occurs causes accumulation within the cell and consequently a decrease in the pH value. Decreasing pH can slow or completely stop the functioning of enzymes that are central to events managed at many points in the cell, including energy production, causing performance to decrease.
This is where carnosine, into which beta alanine turns into a cell, comes into play. Carnosine balances the pH by buffering the hydrogen ions (H +) formed in the cell and responsible for acidity and ensures that the performance continues for a long time.
Here you can think, “If the body can produce, why should we need to buy beta alanine?” A question like.
Carnosine is not a molecule that can enter directly through the cell membrane. Carnosine is produced by transporting beta alanine into the cell. Here, the rate of carnosine production determines the beta alanine transported into the cell.
Since beta alanine is synthesized on the liver and sent into the cell via the blood, the need for intense exercise may not be met.
For this reason, external beta alanine intake increases performance without waiting for liver synthesis and transportation.
Twenty-two male water polo athletes are participating in the study to examine the effect of beta alanine use on performance. Athletes who are divided into two groups (taking beta alanine and taking placebo) are subjected to a sprint test on the water before and after twenty-eight days of supplementation, after a thirty-minute swimming period.
Participants who took beta alanine in the first test performed, on average, 0.2 seconds better than participants who did not take beta alanine,
In the second test, participants who took beta alanine performed 0.4 seconds better on average than participants who did not take beta alanine.
As a result, increased fatigue with repeated tests made beta alanine better show its effect and proved that it increased performance in exercises such as sprinting where anaerobic (oxygen-free) energy production is predominant.
Twenty-two wrestlers and fifteen football players participated in the study to examine the effect of beta alanine intake on muscle mass. Participants divided into two in the study (beta alanine and placebo area) are followed for 300 yards (274 meters) station work time, pull-up time (90-degree arm hang), body composition of the athletes before and after the workout for eight weeks.
When the data obtained at the end of the research are examined,
- Station working time decreased by 0.4 seconds for players who received beta-alanine compared to the group that took the placebo,
- The duration of hanging on the bar was 0.39 seconds shorter for the players who took beta alanine compared to the group that took the placebo,
- Footballers who took beta alanine gained 1.05 kilograms of muscle mass, while football players who took a placebo gained 0.55 kilograms of muscle,
- No significant difference was found between the wrestlers who took beta alanine and the duration of stay in the station and pull-up between the placebo wrestlers,
- Wrestlers who took beta alanine gained 0.5 kilograms of muscle mass, while wrestlers who took the placebo lost 0.48 kilograms of muscle,
Let me evaluate the research here, as there are some conflicting data.
First of all, beta alanine increased performance in footballers but did not change performance in wrestlers. Here, we see that the exercise style of athletes using beta alanine is very important. Because, in athletes who do not exercise at sufficient intensity, beta-alanine cannot contribute to performance.
The reason for this, as I explained before, is that beta alanine starts working in intense exercise. If you do not reach sufficient density, the carnosine molecules produced by the body will be sufficient and the extra beta-alanine you take will not change your performance.
You are also aware that from the beginning of the article I haven’t made a single sentence about muscle mass. Because beta-alanine is not an amino acid directly involved in muscle mass development. It is neither used to build muscle nor triggers anabolism. But there is an indirect effect. It also increases exercise performance.
If you are exercising with serious intensity, your body gives up at certain points. The use of beta-alanine can increase this stopping point a little further, increasing the exercise volume and thus increasing muscle mass with increased muscle stimulation.
2. Aging and neurological function
The research on beta-alanine is not just about exercise performance and muscle development. There are many studies here on aging and neurological function.
Let’s start with aging first.
We mentioned that beta-alanine works as an intracellular pH stabilizer. Although PH balancing is somewhat protective in terms of preventing cell damage, the main anti-aging issue has a different mechanism. Studies show that beta-alanine can slow the shortening of telomeres, which determine cell life.
The only reason your cells are not immortal is telomeres. As each cell divides, these telomeres shorten a little. After a certain number of divisions, the telomere is completely finished and that cell does not divide again.
For this reason, as we age, the number of cells in certain tissues decreases. The best example of this occurs in the brain tissue.
The brain tissue of aging individuals starts to decrease after a while and the brain shrinks, which is called atrophy in Turkish.
Neurologically, another function of beta-alanine is to act as an antioxidant in the brain. Beta-alanine, which functions by blocking superoxide molecules, may play an important role in the protection of neurological functions, especially during illness and poor living conditions.
Should I use beta-alanine?
Beta-alanine can be effective in exercise performance and muscle development. Should I use it here? The point to answer the question is the type and intensity of the exercise performed. If you exercise in an anaerobic phase and travel at an extremely intense tempo, beta-alanine can help prevent fatigue and improve performance.
At the same time, beta-alanine, which is abundant in animal proteins, is one of the amino acids that can be lacking in vegan and vegetarian individuals. For this reason, vegan and vegetarian athletes may consider beta-alanine supplementation regardless of exercise pace.
Beta-alanine, which is preferred by professional athletes to improve performance in the “off-season” before the competition, is not a highly preferred supplement in the “ten seasons” shortly before the competitions.
Because the purpose here is not to increase performance without exercise but to improve performance indirectly by increasing endurance to exercise. For this reason, you need some time to improve performance with beta-alanine.
If you are training in the aerobic phase and are an average-intensity athlete, beta-alanine is probably an unnecessary supplement for you.
Beta-alanine shows a more efficient performance increase in exercises that require short-term explosive power. With the same logic, as the exercise duration increases, the effect of beta-alanine decreases.
Beta-alanine, which can be preferred as an anti-aging supplement, can also be used regularly by individuals with neurological diseases in their families.
How to use beta-alanine?
Beta-alanine intake alters intramuscular carnosine levels instantly. For this reason, beta-alanine intake is always preferred before training.
In addition, long-term use of beta-alanine will increase intramuscular mean carnosine density, so continuous use is always recommended.
Although the dose of beta-alanine use is variable, the level I recommend is 2 grams per day. You can consume this amount as a single dose before training or 1 gram before training and 1 gram after training.
Is beta-alanine harmful?
Although there are no serious complications reported about beta-alanine, the only known side effect is paraesthesia.
Although paraesthesia, in Turkish, tingling indicates excessive beta-alanine intake, beta-alanine consumption should be discontinued completely.
In addition, beta-alanine, which binds to the same carrier as the taurine amino acid, may result in fatty liver and taurine deficiency in heart tissue in taurine deficiency. For this reason, it will be correct to use it under the doctor’s control.