Beta-Alanine- An Irreplaceable Tool For Optimised Performance
Posted on December 03 2018
While consumption of protein supplements containing amino acids has prevailed to gain muscle strength, there are some amino acids that are consumed singly to promote exercise and athletic performance.
Although using supplements among athletes has grown widely, it’s difficult to make a generalization about the supplements for athletic purpose. We must pick the one that helps us to achieve a competitive edge.
Out of all the available supplements, Beta Alanine is gaining popularity as the best ergogenic aid to sports performance.
A Rate Limiting Precursor To The Synthesis Of Carnosine
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid in which the amino group is at the beta-position from the carboxylate group. It is naturally produced in the body and is listed as one of the supplements that can directly improve sports performance by the International Olympic Committee. The difference is unlike most amino acids, Beta Alanine is not used by the body to synthesize proteins. Instead, it performs as a rate-limiting precursor to the synthesis of Carnosine.
Studies suggest that supplementation with Beta-Alanine has shown to improve exercise capacity in tasks lasting 60seconds to 240seconds.1
Beta Alanine Has Statistically Significant Role
Beta Alanine plays a significant role especially in an exercise where there is a high level of muscle acidosis.2
i.e. for events requiring high-intensity effort over a short period. It works by enhancing muscle carnosine concentrations.
Apart from playing a lead role in Carnosine synthesis, Beta Alanine reduces cell oxidative stress, increases cell mobility and quickens the response to the nerval-muscular tiring, prevents the drop of RNA in the kidney, preserves the balance of acid-base conditions of the body. According to the compositional role of Carnosine and Histidine, Beta Alanine increases protein synthesis and calcium release from the sarcoplasmic network and the creation of working potential.
Beta Alanine plays a crucial role in the synthesis of Carnosine, a dipeptide that buffers changes in muscle pH, thereby reducing muscle fatigue and loss of force production.
What Is Carnosine & How Is It Linked To Beta Alanine?
Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide molecule which is made by combining its constituent amino acids, L-Histidine and Beta Alanine with the help of an enzyme, Carnosine Synthetase. It plays a lead role in the regulation of muscle acidosis during intense exercise.
Researchers suggest that supplementation with Beta-Alanine increases muscle carnosine levels by 20-80% which shows the beneficial effect on exercise performance.
Wondering why not ingest Carnosine instead of Beta Alanine?
Carnosine is found in animal-based foods like pork and beef. But as per the studies, oral consumption of Carnosine is an insufficient method of increasing Carnosine concentration. This is because when Carnosine is consumed, the dipeptide gets digested into its constituent amino acids. Whereas, Beta Alanine consumption reliably increases the amount of Carnosine.
Moreover, Carnosine is more willing to react with histidine and also the concentration of histidine is more than alanine. This makes it clear that the synthesis of Carnosine would be more in the presence of Alanine.
Before we learn the role of Carnosine, let’s take brief info about what causes fatigue during high-intensity exercise.
What Causes Fatigue During High-Intensity Exercise?
The major source of energy during high-intensity exercise is glucose, which is derived by anaerobic glycolysis. During glycolysis, glucose gets broken-down into lactic acid, which is further converted to lactate, that produces hydrogen ions (H+).
The more we rely on glycolysis as the primary energy system, the more is the production of lactic acid and H+ ions, leading to a further decrease in intramuscular pH. The built-in acidity blocks the glucose breakdown and reduces the muscle’s ability to contract. This condition causes fatigue.
Carnosine Delays The Onset Of Neuromuscular Fatigue
1. Carnosine plays a chief role by acting as a buffer against the acid. It increases the ability of the muscle to buffer the H+ produced during high-intensity exercise, thereby prevents muscle contraction.
2. More Carnosine in the muscle directly leads to potential attenuation of exercise-induced reduction in pH. This helps to enhance force production for short to moderate duration.
3. Studies have shown that the absence of Carnosine as a buffering agent in an isolated muscle leads to fatigue due to acidosis, but this condition doesn't occur when Carnosine is present in the surrounding medium.3
4. This helps to increase the high-intensity aerobic performance and delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue.
5. Thereby, Carnosine synthesized by Beta-Alanine supplementation elicits improvements in physical performance.