What is it? Beta-Alanine, a modified version of the amino acid Alanine, is the building block of Carnosine – a molecule that helps buffer acid in muscles, therefore increasing physical performance. It has been shown to improve moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance (like rowing and sprinting), and additional reps at the gym when training in 8-15 rep-range.
Who Should take it? Endurance athletes, those trying to build/retain muscle, and anyone looking to enhance their physical performance.
What does it do? When Beta-Alanine is absorbed, it converts to the molecule Carnosine, which then acts as an acid buffer in the body. Lactic acid is a compound that is produced when glucose is broken down and oxidised (especially during exercise when oxygen levels are lower), which then produces hydrogen ions and a burning sensation in the muscles while they are working and contracting. Carnosine stored in cells is released in response to drops in pH. Increased stores of Carnosine can protect against diet-related drops in pH (ketone production in ketosis for example), as well as offer protection from exercise-induced Lactic acid production.
Even though it is a regular addition to pre-workouts, it is actually not timing-dependent. Which means, that you don’t have to take it right before exercise to reap the benefits. As larger doses cause a tingling or itchy feeling (called paresthesia), a harmless side-effect; this can be avoided by using a time-release formula or by taking smaller doses several times per day. A standard daily dosage is 2-5g, so if you’re aiming for the upper intake it would be easier to split the dose up into 2 or 3 servings.
Studies show that supplementation with Beta-Alanine resulted in increases in anaerobic capacity, and increases in lean mass accompanied with fat-loss. These can be attributed to a greater workload (and an increase in workout volume).
How do I take it? Depending on the Beta Alanine content of your pre-workout, add up to a total of 3g before training. Otherwise, split a 3-5g dose over the course of the day.