Spyre Supplements What is Beta Alanine

Supplements 101 - Beta Alanine

Have you noticed that when you take a preworkout supplement, oftentimes you get those “tingles” that run down your arms and legs? 

These tingles are caused by an ingredient called beta alanine, a substance that is created naturally in our livers and also found in poultry and other meat products. Although the tingles that this ingredient can produce may be unpleasant, it does offer some pretty significant benefits!

Studies have shown that beta alanine increases the amount of carnosine in our muscles. This is important because carnosine can improve our workouts in two different ways. First, it acts as a “buffer” for our muscles, which helps to increase the amount of time it takes for our muscles to fatigue. Second, it acts as an antioxidant, which means it can reduce oxidative stress throughout our bodies. Together, this makes carnosine a muscle endurance powerhouse, allowing us to train harder, for longer!

At this point, you might be wondering why we don’t supplement with carnosine directly, since it has such good benefits and the whole point of beta alanine is to increase carnosine. I mean, why not just go directly to the source, right?

The reason we don’t just take regular carnosine is because our bodies have a special enzyme called “carnosinase” that breaks down carnosine before it can reach our muscles, meaning we don’t get any of the benefits. Think of carnosinase as bouncers at a club; They’ll turn carnosine away at the door before it can get inside.

So how do we get around these microscopic bouncers? beta alanine! carnosinase won’t break it down like it will carnosine, and once inside our muscles, beta alanine gets to work creating carnosine for our muscles to use! Think of beta alanine as carnosine’s clever friend who gets past the bouncers and lets carnosine in through the back door.

Now that we understand the benefits of beta alanine, let’s talk about how to properly use it. It takes some time for beta alanine to increase the amount of carnosine in our muscles; specifically, studies have shown that 4g to 6g of Beta Alanine per day for a period of 2 to 4 weeks will increase the amount of carnosine in our muscles. 

Many preworkout supplements will include the full or close to full recommended dose of beta alanine in 1 serving, and while that does get you the amount of beta alanine you need, it has two drawbacks. First, large amounts of beta alanine all at once is what causes the unpleasant “tingling” sensation that you have most likely experienced before. Second, taking one large dose of beta alanine has been shown to not be as effective as taking smaller doses spread throughout the day.

This is why we have opted to remove the beta alanine in our preworkout, Vertex. This allows you to experience the energy, focus and blood flow/pump benefits of our low caffeine preworkout without having to deal with those pesky “tingles!”

If you don't mind the tingles and are looking to get to the 4g to 6g per day target, you have a few options. First, you can find plain, inexpensive beta alanine supplements that you can add to things like protein shakes, flavored water, Vertex, etc. You can also opt for a preworkout that already has beta alanine in it. Lastly, beta alanine can occasionally be found in other supplements like multivitamins, creatine, etc. Any combinations of these options can help you get to the 4g to 6g target!

Beta alanine is a great supplement to support endurance and exercise performance, but it might not be for everyone due to the tingly sensation that comes with it. It's up to you to weigh the pros and the cons of this ingredient to decide if it's worth including in your supplement regimen!

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