If you've looked into pre-workout formulas, you've likely seen beta-alanine (b-alanine) listed as an ingredient here and there, but you might have no idea why you'd want to use it. Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid and a potent antioxidant, but the real reason you'd be interested in it is that it's been proven to be extremely effective at improving physical performance.
Your body is able to produce some beta-alanine from foods”mostly from meat sources, but supplemental b-alanine is shown to significantly increase carnosine levels in muscle cells. The main performance benefits occur because of the buffering of lactic acid and delayed muscle burn.
Beta-alanine prevents the buildup of hydrogen ions which lowers the pH balance in muscle cells. This results in less fatigue and the delayed onset of fatigue products, so you're able to train beyond the point where muscle burn would normally force you to quit.
Noticeable effects of supplemental beta-alanine use:
- Boosted performance during high-intensity activities lasting longer than 60 seconds (most noticeable during 1- to 5-minute exercise bouts)
- Increased strength and power output
- Improved endurance and stamina (longer sets, more reps, etc.)
- Increased peak oxygen uptake (enhanced endurance)
Beta-alanine works extremely well and is ideal for just about all individuals looking to improve physical performance in exercise and/or sports. Those trying it for the first time should be aware that beta-alanine can cause a noticeable pins-and-needles tingling sensation (paresthesia), but it's harmless and generally dissipates quickly.
Also, if you're exercise activity is less than one minute and/or low-intensity, you might not notice any benefits. It works best for bodybuilding type training programs, interval training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), CrossFit, or any other medium- to high-intensity activities lasting at least one to five minutes and/or with minimal rest between bouts.When to Use Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine can be taken at any time of the day, but it should be taken at the same time each day to ensure peak muscle concentrations. Although it can be taken on its own, it's often found in pre-workout formulas because of its proven effectiveness. Plus, the effects can be enhanced and fully taken advantage of when combined with other "pre-workout" nutrients such as caffeine, L-taurine, and other intensity-enhancing ingredients. Taking it shortly before workouts on an empty stomach as part of a beta-alanine-enhanced pre-workout formula like SAN's BCAA Boosted is ideal.