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Women in Sports

The Safe Way to Supplement Your Workout with Beta-Alanine

Photo: Courtesy of Inspired Horizons Digital

Supplementing with beta-alanine, an amino acid that combines with histidine in the body to form carnosine, significantly increases the levels of carnosine in the muscle. Carnosine’s ability to buffer hydrogen ions keeps muscles contracting longer, which extends endurance, speeds muscle recovery, builds muscle strength and enhances peak performance capabilities — when properly dosed and loaded.

“These improvements in muscle and exercise performance are attributed to the increases in muscle carnosine concentration and corresponding increases in muscle buffering capacity,” explains beta-alanine research pioneer Roger Harris, Ph.D.

Remember to keep these several things in mind when loading and dosing beta-alanine.

Slow release

Beta-alanine should be taken every day, not just on workout days, to reach peak performance.  Many athletes choose to employ a “loading” phase into their workout regimen by ingesting higher amounts per day for a set time period, before reducing beta-alanine intake amount to a “maintenance” phase. Opting for a sustained release beta-alanine reduces the burning or tingling sensation known as paresthesia at lower doses and yet makes paresthesia sustainable at higher doses. This allows athletes to consume higher single doses to shortcut loading time and reach peak performance benefits even faster.

Finding the right dosage ​​​​​​​

To reach an enhanced performance benefit, athletes should take beta-alanine for 28 days, until they reach a minimum threshold of 90 grams, an average of 3.2g per day. Many scientific studies have used SR CarnoSyn —a patented delivery system which slowly releases beta-alanine into the body over several hours — to maximize beta-alanine loading with daily dosage amounts of 6.4g. However, those new to beta-alanine should begin with lower doses to learn paresthesia tolerance levels.

The secret to stacking

The supplement can also be stacked (i.e. taking multiple products containing beta-alanine on the same day that, when combined, average 3.2g to 6.4g per day), whether through a pre-workout, post-workout, stand-alone product, or as a combination. Those using beta-alanine should expect increased endurance, strength, focus and recovery.

“Recent studies and the kinetic modeling of the changes in muscle carnosine have reinforced the fact that a higher daily dose and longer supplementation period with regular or sustained release beta-alanine further amplifies the performance improvements which can be achieved in the execution of sustained, intermittent, high-intensity exercise that is anaerobically challenging,” Harris said.

Sue Poremba, [email protected]

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