When you read product descriptions about most supplements, you’ll see a lot of “should” and “could” and “might”, but it’s rare you see an ingredient with nothing but definitive statements about its ingredients. Beta-alanine is one of those rare gems- it has been proven to improve performance, reduce fatigue, improve body composition, and improve anaerobic running capacity in clinical studies.
Specifically, beta-alanine has been shown to:
- improve muscular endurance in the 60-240 second range (sets of over 8 reps)
- Increase performance in supra-maximal cycling tests and improve training times in elite swimmers
- reduce fatigue and time to exhaustion in hard training
Beta-alanine works by converting into carnosine in your body, which acts as a buffer, reducing lactic acid production as it lowers your body’s PH. Less lactic acid means you can keep going longer without getting that acid burn, which means better performance both in the now and over time as your work capacity improves.
Beta-Alanine is the stuff in pre-workouts that cause the tingling sensation you get fifteen minutes after chugging it. That feeling is called paresthesia, and love it or hate it, it’s harmless. The sensation has no effect on performance and in the event you hate it, antihistamines don’t help- it’s a neurological itch rather than a mechanical one. In the event that feeling drives you nuts, just split your dose into smaller amounts and take it three times a day- beta-alanine’s effects are not timing dependent. Use a daily dose of 2-5 grams, taken all at once or in three doses spaced throughout the day.