Are your gym sessions being cut short because you simply don’t have the energy? Or maybe you want to get the most out of your workouts in the shortest amount of time. Unfortunately, we all have a limit with how long our power, strength and endurance lasts within a certain time period.
While there are some individuals that can push their limits and get the maximum benefits from training, others need some help.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an ingredient you could add to your pre-workout that could maximize its benefits without feeling drained after 30 minutes?
Good news: there is.
Beta-alanine is one of the main ingredients found in our pre-workout supplement, Stammpede. Just like a stampede of horses, our pre-workout is a powerful force that allows you to keep pushing forward. Beta-alanine contributes to the majority of that rush of energy you feel after gulping down a scoop of Stammpede.
In this article we will discuss:
- What is beta-alanine?
- What does it do?
- Who should use it?
- What is the dosage?
- The benefits of beta-alanine
- Other Earth Fed Muscle products to take it with
- The side effects of beta-alanine
What is Beta-Alanine?
While most amino acids are used to synthesize proteins, that’s not the case for beta-alanine. Instead, the body pairs it with histidine to produce carnosine which goes on to be stored within your muscles. (1)
Wondering what carnosine is?
You can find carnosine in your brain, kidneys and muscles. (2) It helps to prevent cellular damage from oxidative stress as well as having an impact on many different types of tissue in the body. (3)
How is it helpful for sports performance? As it turns out, carnosine has the ability to reduce the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles during exercise. (4) This can improve performance in a number of ways.
What Does It Do?
The production of carnosine in your muscles can be limited because histidine levels are typically higher and beta-alanine levels are lower. Therefore, carnosine production has a certain threshold. (5) As you can imagine, supplementing with beta-alanine can increase carnosine levels within the muscle (even up to 80%)! (6,7,8)
What’s the process of carnosine during exercise?
- Glucose is broken down (glycolysis is the breakdown of glucose, main fuel during high intensity)
- Lactate is produced when your muscles begin to break glucose down into lactate acid. The lactate produces hydrogen ions.
- pH levels are reduced. The hydrogen ions are what reduce pH levels that make them more acidic. The acidity blocks glucose which causes fatigue. (9,10,11)
- Carnosine Buffer - The carnosine produced in the muscles acts as a buffer against the acid, reducing the acidity and helping prevent fatigue. (12)
Who Should Take It?
You might be thinking that beta-alanine is strictly for the bodybuilding bros that sip on pre-workout and get jacked out of their minds for the ultimate pump. Right? Wrong.
Beta-alanine is a common ingredient found in pre-workout supplements frequently used by athletes, bodybuilders and active individuals alike. But in reality, anyone could benefit from beta-alanine.
As mentioned above, beta-alanine in combination with histidine produces carnosine.
Sure carnosine is helpful in preventing fatigue of the muscle, but that’s not all it’s good for. Carnosine is an antioxidant, supports mitochondrial functioning, delays the shortening of telomeres and more. These are all factors that could improve longevity which is why supplementation with beta-alanine is suggested for those 50 and older as that’s when the natural process of muscle loss begins.
Supplementing with carnosine alone isn’t enough. To achieve a solid level of carnosine in your body, it’s ideal to obtain it through beta-alanine. This is because beta-alanine is a rate-limiting amino acid when making carnosine in the muscles. Meaning, the more beta-alanine you have in your muscle, the more carnosine you’ll have.
So we know we should be taking beta-alanine, but how much?
The average dosage of beta-alanine is anywhere from 2-5 grams a day. (13) For reference, one scoop of Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede contains 5,000 mg (5 grams) of beta-alanine. Studies have also shown that consuming beta-alanine with a meal can enhance muscle carnosine loading. (14)
The Benefits of Beta-Alanine
Some of the benefits of beta-alanine include:
- Improves athletic performance
- Increases lean muscle mass
- May increase the quality and function of muscle in older adults
- May improve cognitive function under stress
#1: Improves Athletic Performance
Whether you’re a weightlifter, endurance runner or your average gym bro, beta-alanine can improve your performance. When it comes to endurance, beta-alanine has been found to increase your time to exhaustion (TTE). A group of cyclists supplemented with beta-alanine and improved their total work by 13%, increasing an additional 3.2% after 10 weeks. (15,16,17)
High-intensity exercise is usually limited by the built-up acid in your muscles. But the carnosine in your muscles produced by beta-alanine can act as a buffer against the acidity. In fact, one study, in particular, revealed that 6 weeks of taking beta-alanine increased the TTE by 19% during high-intensity interval training. (18)
Regardless of the type of training you’re taking part in, beta-alanine can reduce fatigue so you can maximize the benefits from your workouts.
#2: Increases Lean Muscle Mass
Wondering if beta-alanine can help improve your body composition? It’s quite possible. One study took a look at the effects of beta-alanine on both endurance performance and body composition. Subjects supplemented with beta-alanine for 3 weeks and noticed an increase in lean muscle mass. (19) However, this could simply be due to beta-alanine’s ability to increase overall exercise volume.
#3: May Increase Quality and Function of Muscle in Older Adults
How can older individuals benefit from supplementing with beta-alanine? Well, as it turns out, it may prevent sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is age age-related condition that is characterized by the loss of muscle mass, loss of strength, loss of power and loss of the ability to resist fatigue. These changes could include loss of type I and type II muscle fibers and increase fat as well. (20)
The loss of muscle quality isn’t the only thing researchers noticed. It turns out there is a major decrease in muscle carnosine levels as well. As we know, beta-alanine is the rate limited amino acid for muscle carnosine synthesis which leads up to believe you can save the quality of your muscles as you age by supplementing with beta-alanine.
What Other Products Can You Pair With Beta-Alanine?
You often see beta-alanine combined with a number of different products. When it comes to Stammpede, we like to pair it with our intra-sport, Revival. The beta-alanine maximized your output and keeps your engine running while the L-theanine found in Revival makes you alert, yet calm, making the ultimate duo.
The most well-known side effect of beta-alanine includes a “tingling of the skin” sensation or a very itchy face. As you increase the size of your dose, the intensity of the tingle will increase as well.