We see Beta-Alanine in a lot of pre-workout formulas, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I believe in a better way of using this effective supplement, other than just in acute doses a few times a week to create a sensation more than actual performance benefits.

What is beta alanine?

It's an intracellular buffer of hydrogen Ions (H+) through increasing muscular stores of carnosine. The increase of Hydrogen Ions is that “burn” sensation you feel when using beta-alanine. So, the longer we can buffer this or reduce this sensation the better one’s performance. 

A common side effect of beta-alanine is Paresthesia (tingling sensation of the skin).

It does not have an acute effect or benefit (immediate outside of the “sensation” it produces, hence the popularity in pre-workouts.) You do get the placebo skin tingling and such, however the intra cellular buffering and benefits takes much longer to load. Where creatine loads in 5-7 days, beta alanine takes 8-10 weeks to increase muscle carnosine. Carnosine is an intra muscular buffer, and is typically higher in fast twitch (type 2) compared to slow twitch (type 1) muscle fibers. 

“Muscle carnosine was significantly increased by 58.8% to 80.1% after 4 and 10 weeks with BA supplementation.” - Hill et al. (2006) Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity.

What are the benefits of beta-alanine supplementation?

The benefits of beta-alanine supplementation are only applicable in certain sports or situations and bouts of exercise that are longer than 90 seconds as an absolute minimum. For example, it would have no real use to a powerlifter working in the 3-5 rep range, but may be of benefit to bodybuilders or trainers doing high repetition training or training with very short rest periods. Its main use would be more in cyclists or triathletes and maybe intense hikers for example, by delaying fatigue and allowing greater force production in the latter stages of a fatiguing exercise.

Dosing and loading 

There is a loading phase of 4-10 weeks of 80mg/kg body weight, thereafter 40mg/kg is the maintenance dose.

Daily timing doesn’t matter but little and often is best, so single doses of around 10-20mg/kg spread out over the day is a good idea. 

An example using a 100 kg male would be 8000 mg per day for 4-10 weeks and thereafter 4000 mg per day (spread out during loading 2000 mg 4 x a day.) 

Another example using a 65 kg female would be 5200 mg per day for 4-10 weeks and thereafter 2600 mg per day (spread out during loading 1300 mg 4 x a day.)  

Now, if you’re using a pre-workout that contains beta-alanine, you may need to do some mental gymnastics, and add in what you are short for the day via an external source. Then on your off days, add in the full loading or maintenance dose, depending on which phase you’re in. 

 

Recommended Product

Click here to view BioTech USA Beta-Alanine [90 Caps]

 

Craig Brown  

Head coach CSB BodyFusion

MNU Certified Nutritionist 

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