By Dr Alison Kamffer
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid, but unlike most amino acids, it is not used by the body to synthesize proteins. Instead, together with histidine, it produces carnosine which is then stored in your skeletal muscles. Carnosine reduces lactic acid accumulation in your muscles during exercise, which leads to improved athletic performance.
In your muscles, histidine levels are high and beta-alanine levels are low. The low levels of beta-alanine limit the production of carnosine. Supplementing with beta-alanine has been shown to elevate carnosine levels in muscles by 80%. Carnosine has antioxidant, anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties. It also benefits muscle function in older adults. The top food sources are meat, poultry and fish.
Carnosine’s mechanism of action during exercise is as follows:
Glucose, the main source of fuel during high-intensity exercise, is broken down:
As you exercise, your muscles break glucose down into lactic acid. This is converted into lactate, which produces hydrogen ions (H+), reducing the pH level in your muscles, making them more acidic.
Muscle acidity blocks glucose breakdown and reduces the muscles’ ability to contract, causing fatigue.
Carnosine serves as a buffer against this acid, reducing the acidity in muscles during high-intensity exercise .
In general, muscle acidosis limits the duration of high-intensity exercise. For this reason, beta-alanine specifically helps performance during high-intensity and short-duration exercise lasting one to several minutes, by increasing carnosine levels in muscles, and thus helping the muscles reduce their acid levels during exercise, with reduced fatigue.
Studies have shown that beta-alanine helps increase the time to exhaustion (TTE), in other words, it helps you exercise for longer periods at a time, and for older people it can help increase muscle endurance. In resistance training, it can boost training volume and reduce fatigue, however, there’s no consistent evidence that beta-alanine improves strength.
Some evidence suggests that beta-alanine may also benefit body composition: One study showed that 3 weeks of supplements increased lean muscle mass, and similarly, 4 weeks of supplements helped 32 females reduce their body weight and body fat while also increasing lean muscle mass. It is possible that the body composition improvements seen in these studies are mainly due to the increase in exercise volume that come from the supplements.
It is generally advised to take 2–5 grams daily and a 40–60% increase in muscle carnosine concentrations are often seen after 4 weeks of supplements.
Consuming beta-alanine with a meal can further increase carnosine levels .
The most common side effect of beta-alanine is paraesthesia, which is an unusual sensation typically described as “tingling of the skin.” It’s usually experienced in the face, neck and back of the hands. The intensity of this tingling increases with dosage size. It usually starts with doses of 800 mg or higher, and disappears 60–90 minutes after consumption.
There is no evidence that paraesthesia is harmful in any way.
Another possible side effect is a decline in taurine levels, because beta-alanine can compete against taurine for absorption in the muscle.
Beta-alanine may be even more effective when combined with a pre-workout supplement, sodium bicarbonate or creatine.
Whey protein is excellent for promoting muscle growth and maintenance when coupled with strength training. Whey proteins may lower blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure. This is due to bioactive peptides called lactokinins.
Whey protein is also effective at moderating blood sugar levels, especially when taken before or with high-carb meals, and it may be particularly useful for people with type 2 diabetes. High doses of whey protein have been shown to reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, indicating that it can help reduce inflammation. Whey protein supplements may have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease. Whey protein supplementation may strengthen the body’s antioxidant defences by promoting the formation of glutathione, one of the body’s main antioxidants. Long-term, high-dose whey protein supplementation may lower cholesterol levels.
Whey protein is very satiating (filling), even more so than other types of protein, which makes it a useful addition to a weight loss diet. Eating plenty of protein is a very effective way to lose weight, and some studies show that whey protein may have even greater effects than other types of protein. If you are lactose intolerant, whey protein hydrolysate or isolate may be more suitable than concentrate. If you have ever had liver or kidney problems, then consult with a doctor before taking a protein supplement.
Thanks to authority nutrition
Written by SureSlim's Dr Ali