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Beta Alanine is one of the key ingredients in pre-workout drinks. It can be taken on its own or added to a home made pre-workout stack. This article will explain what beta alanine is, what it does, and any side effects.
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid. Non-essential amino acids are created by the body and don’t have to be ingested by food. Beta Alanine is used to produce carnosine in the body. Carnosine has been scientifically proven to reduce lactic acid in muscles during exercise leading to a reduction in fatigue, which leads to improved performance.
Supplementing Beta Alanine can increase carnosine levels in muscles by up to 80%!
While you exercise, your body breaks glucose down to use for energy. As a by-product, lactic acid is created which produces hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions make your muscles more acidic. The more acidic the muscles are, less glucose can be broken down which causes fatigue. Carnosine reduces the acidity in the muscle by acting as a buffer during exercise.
In essence, beta alanine is a great supplement to add if you’re looking to increase endurance for high-intense exercise or if you’re looking to add on a few more reps to your weight training. More reps means more volume, which is a form of progressive overload (main factor in muscle building).
Fitness aside, interestingly certain studies have found that carnosine has antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties in animals and has also found to increase nitric oxide levels which can improve heart health. However, this has not been tested sufficiently on humans.
The standard dose of Beta Alanine is usually between 2-5g daily. The side effects of taking Beta Alanine are little to none. The main side effect reported is something called ‘paraesthesia’. This causes an unusual tingling sensation on the face, neck, and limbs. Studies have reported this to be completely harmless, but some people may not like the feeling.