If you are in fitness communities, you might have heard of beta-alanine before. It is often said to be one of the best ingredients to find in various supplements and meals, acting as a quick way to improve muscle growth and overall energy. Produced by the body, it is essentially already a natural amino acid, so it is not quite like a lot of the artificial products you may be used to.
Of course, like any chemical, it helps to understand Beta-Alanine before you put it into your body. Here is everything you might need to know about what Beta-Alanine is and what it does.
Beta-Alanine is a natural amino acid that our body can produce over time, but it is also something that you can find in many different foods. Common sources include things like most meats, fish, and poultry, as well as any artificial compounds that use it as an ingredient.
While most people can subsist just fine on a normal food-based diet that includes beta-alanine, a lot of athletes and sports players will supplement their diet with additional beta-alanine as well. This usually happens through either a supplement powder some kind of beta-alanine tablet.
What Does Beta-Alanine Do?
Beta-Alanine combines with something called histidine, creating a dipeptide called carnosine. This carnosine does multiple different things, but the key benefits are reductions in fatigue, slower lactic acid build-in, better endurance, and faster recovery if you start to slow down.
As you can imagine, all of these are very useful for people who need to exercise regularly, since it provides a very reliable way of restoring energy and boosting performance. Higher carnosine levels lead to a major reduction in fatigue, especially during short bursts of activity with time to rest in between.
It is worth noting that this carnosine does not necessarily have to be used for exercise. The reduced muscle fatigue and better recovery can also be helpful for stressful jobs, recovering from injuries, or even just boosting your endurance if you are feeling tired and worn-out.
One of the most well-known details about beta-alanine is the way that it boosts your athletic performance. This allows you to feel stronger, avoid exhaustion for longer, and might even help you go faster than you would normally be able to.
Unlike a stimulant, this is not done by forcing your body to go beyond normal limits. Instead, you are just boosting your normal levels of carnosine, allowing your body to go slightly further and fight a bit harder to stave off muscle pains or fatigue.
This naturally leads to beta-alanine also helping you grow muscles faster since it becomes a lot easier to push yourself further. Muscles grow when you place them under more stress and tension, so better endurance gives you more chance to break them down and let them build back up.
The faster recovery can help here, too, since you are going to get your energy back faster. Pain will heal slightly quicker, and you won’t need to wait around for lactic acid to dissipate, something that can enable you to train or exercise more in the long-term.
Fewer people know about the added focus that beta-alanine can provide. While it is not exactly fully proven yet, a lot of users have said that they felt sharper and more awake after improving their carnosine levels, including actual soldiers who used it before combat training exercises.
This could vary from person to person, but even a small boost to your mental focus can make a difference in the middle of a major game or tough exercise routine.
Is It Safe?
Beta-alanine is a natural chemical in our body. While you can take it through artificial means, this still makes it a lot safer than some other chemicals that you could be taking. The risks are basically non-existent as long as you do not keep taking massive doses with no time to rest or filter it out of your body.
That being said, always check the beta-alanine you are buying to make sure that it is actually a good quality product. Like any supplement, poor quality is not just an issue of how it tastes: it can actively impact your health for the worse and might lead to other problems further down the line if you keep using it.