Does Beta-alanine Improve Athletic Performance?
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has some potential benefits to athletes as it is involved as a rate-limiting precursor of carnosine and has been accepted has an effective physiological hydrogen ion (H+) buffer. In contrast, beta-alanine is not involved as a precursor of proteins. Carnosine is often used in ‘anti-aging’ supplements.
One recent study (Smith et al, 2009), found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) was effective and efficient in inducing significant aerobic improvements. The study authors concluded that beta-alanine supplementation may further enhance HIIT training by improving both endurance performance and lean body mass. The dose of beta-alanine in this particular study was 6 g per day for the first 3 weeks, then followed by 3g per day for the following three weeks.
An additional study (Hoffman et al, 2008) found that beta-alanine supplementation increased training volume and reduced subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. The dosage of beta-alanine in this study was 4.5g per day.
Important! At high doses, beta-alanine can cause side effects including paraesthesias or a sensation of “pins and needles” in your limbs.
- Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5.
- Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Faigenbaum AD, Ross R, Kang J, Stout JR, Wise JA. Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;28(1):31-5.
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