What is Beta-Alanine ?
In biochemistry, beta-alanine (or â-alanine) is the only naturally occurring beta amino acid
, which are amino acids
in which the amino group is at the â-position from the carboxylate group The IUPAC name for beta-alanine would be 3-aminopropanoic acid. Unlike its normal counterpart, L-á-alanine, beta-alanine has no chiral center.
Beta-alanine is not used in the biosynthesis of any major proteins or enzymes. It is formed in vivo by the degradation of dihydrouracil and carnosine. It is a component of the naturally occurring peptides carnosine and anserine and also of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) which itself is a component of coenzyme A. Under normal conditions, beta-alanine is metabolized into acetic acid.
Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting precursor of carnosine, which is to say carnosine levels are limited by the amount of available beta-alanine. Supplementation with beta-alanine has been shown to increase the concentration of carnosine in muscles, decrease fatigue in athletes and increase total muscular work done.
Beta-Alanine efficacy is backed by major university, peer-reviewed studies performed on humans, not a cell, rat or goat study upon which other products typically base claims. The science behind beta-alanine is simple, it makes sense and it works. The information on this site, was designed to be used as a beta-alanine guide and is organized in a hands-on, easy-to-follow approach manner- with no fancy biochemistry or confusing graphs.
What is Beta-Alanine and where do we get it?
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid. Not to be confused with regular alanine, beta- alanine is classified as a non-proteinogenic amino acid, as it is not believed to be used in the building of proteins.
The greatest natural dietary sources of beta-alanine are believed to be obtained through ingesting the beta-alanine containing dipeptides: carnosine, anserine and balenine, rather than directly ingesting beta-alanine. These dipeptides are found in protein rich foods such as chicken, beef, pork and fish.
It is predominantly through ingesting the dipeptide carnosine that we ingest most of our beta-alanine, as the two other dipeptides are not found nearly as plentiful in our typical coniferous diet. However, obtaining beta-alanine through these dipeptides is not the only way, as our bodies can synthesize it in the liver from the catabolism of pyrimidine nucleotides which are broken down into uracil and thymine and then metabolized into beta-alanine and B-aminoisobutyrate. Of course, it can also be ingested through direct supplementation which is the focus of this article.
Below is a list of the benefits from beta-alanine, supported by peer-reviewed university research, published in reputable science journals.
Benefits of Beta-Alanine as supported by scientific studies:
Increase Muscular Strength & Power Output.
Increases Muscle Mass
Increase Anaerobic Endurance
Increases Aerobic Endurance
Delay Muscular Fatigue- Train Harder & Longer
What causes our muscles to lose strength,power and endurance during intense exercise?
When we exercise, especially when it’s high intensity exercise, our bodies accumulate a large amount of hydrogen ions (H+), causing our muscles’ pH to drop (become more acidic). This process is occurring whether you feel a burn or not.
The breakdown of ATP and the subsequent rise in H+ concentrations occur in all of our energy systems but H+ buildup is most prevalent in an energy system called glycolysis, which also produces lactic acid. At physiological pH, lactic acid dissociates H+ and is the primary source of released H+ ions during exercise, causing pH to drop.
It is the released H+ from lactic acid that causes muscular performance problems, not the leftover lactate ions as many incorrectly believe. While lactic acid is the primary source of released H+, it is not the only source. H+ ions are also being released at a rapid rate when you break down the high energy compound ATP during exercise. With the presence of many sources during energy production releasing H+, pH drops quickly.
As our muscles pH quickly drops, so does their ability to contract forcibly and maintain a high level of performance throughout your workout session. Not being able to perform and maintain forceful muscular contractions and push your body to the limit during your workout session, seriously hampers your ability to maximally overload your muscles and force new muscle gains.
In a nutshell, H+ causes your muscles pH to drop, in tern decreasing your strength and causing you to fatigue faster. These limitations stop you from adequately overloading your muscles and forcing NEW muscle gains
So how can beta-alanine help us overcome this drop in pH that limits exercise performance?
To understand how beta-alanine works to fight the drop in pH within our muscle, you must first understand how carnosine works. The reason being is, beta-alanine’s performance benefits are not direct but realized through its ability to boost the synthesis of carnosine.
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