Beta-alanine is a non-proteogenic amino acid that’s naturally produced in the body, and also found in foods such as certain meat and fish. It combines with the amino acid histidine to form a dipeptide called carnosine. Over time, carnosine acts as a buffer to help delay the onset of lactic acid and muscle fatigue and failure, while building endurance and improving recovery. The body’s natural production and most diets, however, do not have enough beta-alanine needed to improve athletic performance.
How Beta-Alanine Functions in the Body
Beta-alanine is considered to be the rate-limiting step in muscle carnosine synthesis (Bauer & Sculz, 1994; Harris et al., 2006). Thus, the primary goal of beta-alanine supplementation is to increase carnosine content in the skeletal muscle thereby enhancing intracellular buffering capacity, enabling a greater tolerance of sustained anaerobic activity. Using beta-alanine supplements helps to enhance carnosine levels in the body by up to 80%.
During exercise and training, the following happens to the carnosine in the body:
This is the process by which glucose is broken down in the body to provide energy. Glucose is the primary source of energy for sustained or intermittent high-intensity exercise such as that undertaken during workouts. As exercise intensity increases the major end-products of glucose metabolism are increasingly lactate and hydrogen ions which are generated in equal amounts. However, it is the highly reactive hydrogen ions that are responsible for the fall in pH in exercising muscle, a process also referred to as acidification. Throughout exercise, hydrogen ions can be actively transported out of the muscle cells and into the circulation. However, the rate at which this can occur is limited and at higher exercise intensities is insufficient in matching the increased rate of hydrogen ion production, resulting in progressive acidification particularly of the strength-generating fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Onset of Fatigue
The onset of fatigue with loss of muscle power generation is multi-factorial in origin, but several points are exacerbated by the increase in acidity (aka fall in muscle pH). In particular, the formation of cross-links between the proteins responsible for power generation and shortening of the muscle fibers is compromised by the increasing acidity. This is perceived by the athlete as fatigue, “the failure to complete an expected task.”
Carnosine is able to buffer pH decline as the imidazole ring structure of each histidine attached to each beta-alanine residue is able to take on an additional hydrogen ion. While it is the histidine half of the carnosine molecule that acts as a buffer, the beta-alanine half is equally as important by preventing the histidine combining with other amino acids to form proteins. This enables high concentrations of carnosine to be accumulated in the muscle cells, which can be still higher with beta-alanine supplementation. High concentrations of carnosine mean more effective buffering and a delay and even the prevention of muscle fatigue.
Health Benefits of High-Quality Beta-Alanine and CarnoSyn®
CarnoSyn® is the most common and highest-quality beta-alanine available. High-quality beta-alanine helps the body in a variety of ways. Some of these benefits include:
Aiding in increased muscle endurance for older adults
Improving training volume and reducing fatigue during resistance training
Increasing body mass and lean muscle mass
To achieve the benefits of CarnoSyn® beta-alanine, you need to ensure you are taking the right dose of the beta-alanine supplement. Science proves a daily dose of 3.2-6.4 grams improves athletic performance.
TWO WAYS TO GET RESULTS
CarnoSyn® beta-alanine is available in two different forms—instant release and sustained release—offering two ways to dose. SR CarnoSyn® offers the same benefits as instant release CarnoSyn®, but in an advanced delivery system that allows for increased dosing for better results. When used in tandem, the combination of instant release and sustained release gives athletes the ability to stack their dosing for higher quantities of beta-alanine and even more performance gains.