Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is made by the body. It is found in meat, poultry and fish. Beta Alanine plays an important role in the production of the protein carnosine and acts as a muscle buffer during high intensity exercise.
What does Beta Alanine do?
The production of energy needed to power movement and exercise results in free hydrogen ions, or acid. During exercise, our muscle acid levels increase and this causes a feeling of fatigue. Our body uses Beta Alanine to make carnosine, and carnosine neutralises the acid that accumulates in muscles during exercise. Supplementing with Beta Alanine increases our bodies natural carnosine production by 80%. These increased levels of carnosine allow us to exercise at our best – in particular increasing the number of reps you are able to do near maximal effort.
Beta Alanine or carnosine?
Given that it’s carnosine that has the neutralising effect – should you just take carnosine instead? No – supplementing with Beta Alanine does a better job at increasing carnosine levels than taking carnosine itself. This is because carnosine can’t enter the muscle cells in a great amount.
What are the benefits?
Short, high intensity activities benefit most from supplementation. Examples include:
- Short (1-7 minutes) sustained high intensity sports (e.g. rowing, track cycling, swimming, middle distance running)
- Sports that involve repeated high intensity efforts of exercise (e.g. resistance training, team sports, racquet sports)
- Strength training – increasing the number of reps you can push out at rep ranges above 8.
Beta alanine is one of the small group of supplements that directly improve sports performance noted in the 2018 IOC Consesus statement.
Recommended dosing and potential side effects
The recommended dosage to take is 4-6g per day for up to 10 weeks. It can be taken at different times of the day to fuel carnosine production at a longer duration. Do not take before bedtime.
One serve of VPA beta alanine is 1.2g with each 200g tub having 166 serves. We recommend weighing each serve with microscales to obtain an accurate serving size. If you do not have microscales, one serve is around ½ of a tea spoon. Monitor your intake and cross-check nutritional labels especially if you also take pre-workouts. Our Pre-30 contains 1.5g beta alanine per serve while Kleos Pre-workout contains 2g per serve.
After stopping supplementation, it takes about 15 weeks for muscle carnosine levels to return to starting concentrations.
Some athletes report skin tingling (which some people like) with supplementation – but the sensation is harmless. Split dosing strategies can reduce this sensation.