Whether you are an Olympic athlete or someone who exercises for the physical and mental health benefits, beta-alanine supplements have increased athletic performance. It plays a significant role in endurance sports such as long-distance running, cycling, swimming, or triathlon. The article will discuss what beta-alanine is, how it works in the body, and how it can benefit your athletic performance without any side effects from supplementation.
1. Ingestion to Assimiliation
Beta-alanine first travels through your digestive system and into your bloodstream when you consume beta-alanine. From the bloodstream, it then moves to the muscle tissues. The human body is capable of incorporating beta-alanine into skeletal muscle. Therefore, the skeletal muscles act as a storage site for beta-alanine.
An ingested beta-alanine supplement takes approximately 2 hours to reach peak plasma concentration in healthy adults. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals will respond equally well to beta-alanine supplementation. However, a daily dose of 2-3 grams for two weeks should suffice for noticeable benefits for most people.
2. Conversion of Beta-Alanine to Carnisone in Muscle Cells
One of the reasons beta-alanine is so effective at enhancing exercise performance is its ability to improve intracellular carnosine concentrations. Once inside a cell, beta-alanine combines with other amino acids to form carnosine. Carnosine levels naturally decrease with age and are lower in individuals who perform intense exercise or endurance training. Supplementing with beta-alanine may help increase carnosine levels within muscles.
The carnosine accumulated within muscle cells can vary based on genetics and diet. Research suggests that athletes may be able to boost their carnosine levels with beta-alanine supplementation significantly. If you have questions about whether or not beta-alanine is right for you, consult your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.
3. Carnosine Act as a PH Buffer in Skeletal Muscles
Carnosine in skeletal muscles acts as a potent antioxidant by absorbing excess H+ ions that accumulate during strenuous exercise. It is present in muscle fibers in its free form, not bound to protein, where it increases strength and endurance by improving muscle contraction. Carnosine works as a buffering agent by decreasing hydrogen ions (H+) released into muscles during high-intensity exercise. H+ ions are responsible for the pH drop inside muscle cells which causes fatigue.
Carnosine prevents these drops from occurring, resulting in increased performance. H+ ions are responsible for lactic acid buildup and decreased muscle performance. The anti-fatigue effects of carnosine supplementation can last up to six weeks after discontinuation. That makes carnosine an ideal supplement for athletes who need to perform at their best regularly. It also reduces the by-products of training—such as lactic acid, which means you’ll be able to recover faster between workouts.
4. Carnosine Supplements Acts as an Antioxidant
Once incorporated into the muscle cells, carnosine acts as an antioxidant, preventing damage from free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that have lost one or more electrons and, as a result, behave abnormally.
When free radicals run rampant through your body, they can cause severe damage to your muscles and organs. Carnosine supplements help prevent these harmful molecules from causing harm by neutralizing them. The effect reduces muscular fatigue, allowing you to train harder for extended periods.
5. Stimulates Glucose Uptake in Muscle Tissues
Converting beta-alanine to carnosine in muscle cells helps stimulate glucose uptake into muscle tissues. Increased glucose uptake by muscle cells has significant ramifications for athletes, who experience dips in blood sugar levels during activity and training.
Studies have found that beta-alanine can help maintain normal blood glucose levels after prolonged exercise. As such, many athletes take beta-alanine supplements before workouts or endurance events. That is especially true among cyclists, as they often suffer from low blood sugar at high altitudes—an effect known as hypoglycemia—which one can mitigate by supplementing with beta-alanine before a ride.
The body produces carnosine naturally but at a much slower rate than necessary to protect against intense physical activity. Supplementing with beta-alanine provides your body with an additional supply of carnosine so you can work out harder for more extended periods before fatigue sets in. Beta-alanine reduces lactic acid concentrations responsible for muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). That makes it easier to train hard on consecutive days or multiple times per day without experiencing any adverse side effects.