Beta-Alanine Is One Of The Most Popular Supplements For Endurance Athletes.
Why? Because it works! The quick and dirty reason for why it works is because it reduces the amount of lactic acid and hydrogen ions produced from hard-working muscles, but if you’ve made it this far, you must want to know more. Let’s geek out on beta-alanine!
What's Up With The Tingles From Beta-Alanine?
The first thing you may notice when taking beta-alanine is you literally start to feel geeked out. This is a harmless side effect of beta-alanine, called paresthesia. In other words, your skin just feels really tingly and more sensitive to touch for a little while. Research examining this effect has demonstrated that only a particular type of neurons that are exclusively found in the skin are affected by beta-alanine. The itching sensation is NOT associated with any allergic (histamine) response or inflammation.1 Sensations are more pronounced in individuals with greater expression of the MAS-related G-Protein Receptor Family Member D (MrgprD) gene. Don’t like your MrgprD genes? You may find it worth it to endure the tingles for better performance!
How Is Beta-Alanine Going To Help Make Me A STRAVA Superstar?
Anyone exercising at a high intensity and pushing their limits generates lactic acid and hydrogen ions (that burning sensation) from rapid metabolism of glucose. Energy production from this metabolic pathway is unavoidable during tip-top performance efforts. Training helps the body learn how to buffer a reduced pH (acidosis), but beta-alanine is one of the only ways (and the most effective way) to reduce acidosis with nutrition.2 Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting step in the generation of carnosine (the intracellular pH buffer that reduces acidosis). I know what you’re thinking, why not just take carnosine? Gram for gram, beta-alanine is actually more effective for increasing muscle carnosine than carnosine itself! Carnosine binds the hydrogen ions produced from exercise, keeping blood pH more stable, and less burning sensation enables the athlete consuming beta-alanine to push harder, longer.
Do Any Studies Show That Beta-Alanine Can Improve Endurance?
Yes. Numerous studies have found beta-alanine to improve endurance, fatigue resistance, and training volume. So how do you take it? Beta-alanine is best supplemented daily in doses of at least 3.2 grams per day (up to 6.4). Beta-alanine works best when consumed for extended periods of time because it can accumulate in the muscle tissue to provide additive effects. For those with active MrgprD genes who are more sensitive to beta-alanine, doses can be divided across the day without compromising beta-alanine’s efficacy. Beta-alanine does not need to be cycled. Some studies have investigated the effects of beta-alanine co-ingested with other ingredients such as caffeine to find even greater improvements in performance.2
I'm Sold On Beta-Alanine. Where Can I Get Some?
Beta-alanine can be found alongside caffeine and a number of other effective ingredients in EndurElite’s PerformElite Pre-Training formula. PerformElite was designed specifically for endurance athletes, not gym rats, and it contains only efficacious doses of scientifically-validated ingredients that support different aspects of cardiovascular performance. Give it a try and find out for yourself!
- Liu, Q., Sikand, P., Ma, C., Tang, Z., Han, L., Li, Z., ... & Dong, X. (2012). Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(42), 14532-14537.
- Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Stout, J. R., Hoffman, J. R., Wilborn, C. D., Sale, C., ... & Campbell, B. (2015). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 30.