Incredible Benefits of Beta-Alanine for Athletes

beta alanine benefits
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What is beta-alanine? It’s a non-essential amino acid, meaning that we can produce it in our bodies. It’s a substance that comes with numerous benefits, both for athletes and regular people. That’s why you will find it in many supplements, including pre-workouts. Do you want to find out more? Then keep reading!

What Is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid synthesized in the liver. It can also be found in numerous foods (or rather, meats), such as:

  • chicken,
  • beef,
  • turkey,
  • pork,
  • fish.

Interestingly enough, beta-alanine is quite unlike other non-essential amino acids in our body, as it’s not used for protein synthesis. Instead, it works with histidine to produce carnosine—a substance that is stored in your skeletal muscles, responsible for reducing lactic acid accumulation during exercise.

what is beta alanine

What Does Beta-Alanine Do? Why Is It Better Than Carnosine?

As mentioned earlier, beta-alanine’s main purpose is to produce carnosine. This prompts one important question: why not supplement with carnosine instead?

The case here is simple: beta-alanine has a much better absorption rate than carnosine. Thus, it’s simply easier to consume the former and have it produce the latter. Plus, this way, we can avoid the degradation process that occurs when taking carnosine directly, as this substance is broken down by digestive enzymes before it reaches the skeletal muscles.

How Does Carnosine Work?

If we’d like to look at what beta-alanine does in more detail, we’d need to examine the function of carnosine. So, what does this substance do? Here’s a list in a nutshell:

  • It breaks down glucose.
  • It produces lactate from lactic acid.
  • It reduces the acidity of your muscles during exercise.

What Is Beta-Alanine Used for?

Beta-alanine is mostly used for supplementation, namely as a pre-workout ingredient. However, it’s not only taken by athletes—here’s a list of all the uses for this amino acid:

  • enhancing physical activity,
  • treating menopause symptoms,
  • treating age-related muscle loss.

As you can see, it’s a substance with a plethora of uses. That’s why it’s often sold as a separate supplement, not only as one of the ingredients in your pre-workouts.

what does beta alanine do

What Does Beta-Alanine Do in a Pre-Workout? List of Benefits

Having established what beta-alanine (and carnosine) does, let’s take a more practical approach. What are the benefits of taking it? How can it affect your workouts? Find it out below!

Improved Endurance and Lower Fatigue

As mentioned before, carnosine turns lactic acid into lactate. This is crucial for longer workouts—why?

Lactic acid and acidity, in general, are what cause fatigue and muscle soreness. With carnosine produced as a result of beta-alanine intake, you will turn more of that acid into lactate. Thus, the feeling of fatigue will come later than usual, letting you complete a longer training sesh.

Interestingly enough, due to its effects on people suffering from age-related muscle loss, this effect becomes even more potent for people over 50.

Enhanced High-Intensity Performance

Another benefit of beta-alanine is related to muscle acidity. This time, it all comes down to your power during intensive workouts.

The fact that your muscles will accumulate lactic acid more slowly will make you both last long and go harder during your most hardcore training. As such, it is a supplement that you should take, no matter whether you prefer endurance over strength or the other way around.

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Increased Muscle Mass…Indirectly

Technically, taking beta-alanine won’t improve your muscle mass—neither the amino acid nor the carnosine produced by it has such an impact. However, it can still help you with that, but in an indirect way.

Since the benefits of beta-alanine include both improving muscle strength and endurance, you will be able to train for longer periods without the feeling of exhaustion or push yourself to a new limit. This, on the other hand, will result in better muscle mass growth.

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How Often Should You Take Beta-Alanine? What Dosage Should You Stick To? What Is the Best Timing?

Knowing all of that, let’s get to the even more practical side of taking beta-alanine: dosage and timing. How often and when should you take it?

Beta-Alanine Timing

If you take it as a separate supplement, it’s generally good to take it 3-4 times a day. When it comes to timing, you should consume it with your meals, minding that one of the doses should be around half an hour before your training.

This gets much easier when pre-workouts are considered since all you must do is follow your standard pre-workout timing.

Dosage

According to studies[1], the daily dosage that is helpful for athletes like you should be around 4-6 grams. However, you should also consider all the foods consisting of beta-alanine. Thus, the exact dosage will depend on your diet, with a special focus on how often you consume meat.

Interestingly enough, another study[2] showed that consuming beta-alanine with foods can lift your carnosine levels even higher, without overdoing beta-alanine, so it’s one of the ways that could potentially improve your workouts even further.

What Is the Best DarkLabs Pre-Workout with Beta-Alanine?

Knowing what beta-alanine is, how it works, and what benefits it has for your workouts, there’s just one question that we need to answer: what is our best supplement with beta-alanine? Definitely the Dark Labs Crack Primal Edition.

Filled with a powerful dose of beta-alanine, it’s one of our best pre-workouts overall, so the fact that it has 3200mg beta-alanine in one box (0.5kg) is just one of the arguments why you should try it.

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The Takeaway

Beta-alanine itself might not be helpful for your training—its main benefit is that it produces carnosine. Yet, as you can see, carnosine has some potent impact on muscle strength, endurance, and, indirectly, muscle growth. This is why we believe that including beta-alanine in pre-workout supplements is crucial, and we do so in our products!

You may also read: Yohimbine 101 – Dosage, Benefits & Risks

Sources:

  1. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, Hoffman JR, Wilborn CD, Sale C, Kreider RB, Jäger R, Earnest CP, Bannock L, Campbell B, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss TN, Antonio J International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2015 Jul 15)
  2. Stegen S, Blancquaert L, Everaert I, Bex T, Taes Y, Calders P, Achten E, Derave W. Meal and beta-alanine coingestion enhances muscle carnosine loading. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Aug;45(8):1478-85. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31828ab073. PMID: 23439427.
What is beta-alanine?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid synthesized in the liver and found in various meats such as chicken, beef, turkey, pork, and fish. It is unique among non-essential amino acids as it does not contribute to protein synthesis but instead helps produce carnosine, which reduces lactic acid accumulation in muscles during exercise

What are the main uses of beta-alanine?

Beta-alanine is primarily used in supplementation, particularly in pre-workout formulas. It helps enhance physical activity, treat menopause symptoms, and address age-related muscle loss.

What benefits does beta-alanine provide in a pre-workout supplement?

Beta-alanine in pre-workout supplements helps improve endurance and reduce fatigue by converting lactic acid into lactate, delaying muscle soreness. It also enhances high-intensity performance by slowing the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles, allowing for longer and more intense workouts.

beta alanine benefits

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