Beta alanine, unlike creatine, is a lesser known supplement in the fitness world, but becoming more popular. Beta alanine is on the verge of becoming as well known as creatine for its performance benefits. While creatine boasts its ability to create a higher power output in subjects, beta alanine not only helps with strength and power, but also increases muscular endurance.
Beta alanine has been getting praise for its ability to stabilize pH levels and act as a lactic acid buffer, but it is really carnosine that makes beta alanine look like a star. So what is carnosine? During exercise, hydrogen ions (H+) are released, causing performance to plummet. When our body accumulates a large amount of H+ ions, our muscles pH levels drop, or becomes more acidic (the burning sensation in muscles). Carnosine helps stabilize muscle pH by soaking up these H+ ions that are released at an accelerated rate during exercise.
I know the next question that you may be asking. Why not just take carnosine instead of beta alanine? Carnosine actually gets broken down in the GI tract into beta alanine, while some is also escaping. Beta alanine then has to get converted back into carnosine. In this conversion process, you lose a substantial amount of the initial carnosine you have just ingested. From a financial standpoint, it is much more effective to purchase beta alanine.
Like creatine, beta alanine has very generalized dosing across all products and manufactures. In a study done by “Nutrition Research” in 2008, 4.5 grams per day of beta alanine supplementation proved “higher training volumes and lower subjective feelings of fatigue”.
Ingesting beta alanine may cause a prickly feeling on the skin. Don’t worry, this is normal. It is caused by the beta alanine binding with nerve receptors, activating them and causing them to fire. Beta alanine, by no means replaces creatine, but it is the ultimate 1-2 punch to be taken with creatine to benefit strength and power, as well as, muscular endurance.