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Beta-alanine: efficient intra-muscular acid buffer & performance enhancer

Author:Ryan Chapman, C.N.C.
2123   1862 

Beta AlanineBeta-alanine: efficient intra-muscular acid buffer & performance enhancer
The fatigue that sets in during a workout or race can halter performance and increase self doubt to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. The difference between an athlete who can outperform, or 'go the distance' and one who simply can't, is the athlete's ability to synthesize and store carnosine in muscle tissue.

Carnosine is an amino acid found in both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers, but in significantly higher concentrations in the type 2 fibers, the type primarily used in high intensity strength/speed workouts and the most responsive to muscle growth.

As mentioned, all muscle fibers naturally synthesize carnosine to help buffer high levels of acidity. There are three energy systems by which your body can generate energy, or ATP. There is the oxidative system, the glycolysis system, and finally, the phosphagen system. The breakdown of ATP (energy) itself in all systems creates hydrogen ions which contribute to muscle acidity and subsequent fatigue, but the glycolytic and phosphagen systems create the utmost acidity. This is where carnosine can be highly beneficial for performance.

Carnosine is a naturally occuring di-peptide, synthesized from the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Beta-alanine in isolation, has been shown to be more effective at synthesizing carnosine in the body than carnosine itself. Taking carnosine will get broken down by stomach acid and converted into beta-alanine and histidine either way, so it's better to simply ingest beta-alanine to get increased levels into muscles. 

According to PubMed, "Beta-alanine has been shown to have a positive effect on anaerobic endurance through its ability to enable increased 'buffering' of hydrogen and therefore delay the onset of lactic acidosis in the muscle cell."

So how do I take it to increase performance?
Traditionally Beta-alanine is ingested 30-45 minutes prior to exercise on an empty stomach mixed into water. A typical dose is 1.5 grams, but the guys at Proven Nutrition have been using this for a while and realize that the body responds better with a dose around 5 grams, which can be found in one scoop of their powdered product, BETA. Beta-alanine can be taken anytime and will benefit performance if used more regularly. Also, just so you are aware, the ingestion of beta-alanine causes a sensation known as paresthesia. Paresthesia feels like pins and needles on the surface of the skin, and it generally lasts for around ten minutes, but some people can find this uncomfortable in the beginning. The feeling can be similar, but not quite as intense as taking vitamin B-3 (niacin). 

The Takeaway
Training and exercise cause the breakdown of ATP, which increases acidity and muscle fatigue. Supplementing with Beta-alanine can help lower the impact of this process and increase muscluar endruance and overall performance for both strength and cardio exercises. 

So give it a try and consider stacking it with Proven Nutrition's CORE and a scoop of CITRULLINE to get a great non-stimulant pre-workout boost with a killer blueberry taste. See you at the finish line!

Ryan Chapman, C.N.C.

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