What is beta-alanine and how does it benefit me?
There are so many supplements available now that it gets hard for our consumers to figure out which one they need and which one is the most suitable for them. Some may aim for weight loss while others for a high muscle mass and at the same time some may just want to improve aerobic capacity and endurance.
In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of beta-alanine and how can we use it in our daily lives. If you are an athlete who is looking to train for a high endurance and a high-intensity activity or even if you just work out and want an improved aerobic capacity, beta-alanine is your go-to supplement.
What is beta alanine?
A balanced diet gives you most of the key ingredients you need to function well. Although it helps in curbing deficiencies of a specific nutrient or vitamin, it may still run short of a few specific important compounds that will help you optimise your workout regime and improve your performance.
Beta-alanine is one of the non-essential amino acids which can be missed out in your diet even while you are consuming regular meals of chicken, beef, whey, legumes or fish. After being absorbed in the body, it is modified to form a more active compound carnosine. Carnosine helps boost your stamina, endurance and, strength by improving muscle growth and health.
What are the benefits of beta-alanine?
When muscles burn fuel (glucose), they release lactic acid, carbon dioxide and water. When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it makes the environment very acidic along with lactic acid. The muscle fibres start getting fatigued when acidity builds up in muscle. This acidity is not a good environment for muscles to function in. It causes the performance to decline.
Beta-alanine forms incarnadine which helps in neutralising the muscle pH. It combines with all the acidic molecules and neutralises them. Therefore the muscles get tired less easily and less quickly. This is how they can keep working for longer periods of time with a quick recovery period.
As you know muscles are made up of fibres. These fibres are essentially two types (type 1 and type 2). It is type 2 twitch fibres that improve performance in high intensity and high endurance workouts. Carnosine modifies the muscle mass composition to have more of type 2 fibres than type 1. It improves muscle performance by activating type 2 fibres through carnosine.
How does beta-alanine help in running?
Beta-alanine is one of the best running supplements. Runners are very particular with their diet and training. It is a high intensity and a high endurance activity. If you recall, carnosine helps in bringing the muscle pH back to normal when there is lactic acid build up. This improves the aerobic endurance and capacity of the muscles. Thus by consuming beta-alanine, the athletes can be stronger and can run for longer.
While sprinters don’t usually require a high muscle mass, they still need an optimal muscle composition and an adequate mass to provide for periods of explosive and energetic activity. Having a greater activation of the type 2 muscle fibres keeps the runners going for longer periods.
High aerobic endurance combined with shorter recovery periods all lead up to beta-alanine being a must-have supplement on the list of supplements for a sprinter/runner.