By Jim Stoppani, PhD Flex
FLEX has been recommending the use of beta-alanine longer than most bodybuilding magazines have even been aware of the supplement. Over the years, the research has been building up in favor of this amino acid. The latest study shows that it helps build muscle and improve performance.
THE STUDY Researchers from Adams State College (Alamosa, Colorado) had 22 collegiate wrestlers and 15 collegiate football players supplement with 4 grams of beta-alanine per day or a placebo for eight weeks. The scientists measured the athletes’ 300-yard shuttle time, 90-degree flexed-arm hang time and body composition before and after the eight-week trial.
THE RESULTS The researchers reported in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that the beta-alanine group improved their 300-yard shuttle time by about one full second more than the placebo group and increased their hang time by almost three full seconds. Among the wrestlers, although both groups lost bodyweight and bodyfat due to the fact that they were trying to make weight classes, those taking the beta-alanine gained more than one pound of muscle, while the placebo group lost one pound of muscle. Among the football players, who were trying to gain weight, those taking beta-alanine increased muscle mass by more than two pounds, while those taking the placebo only gained a pound. The placebo group also gained about 1% bodyfat, while the beta-alanine group added no bodyfat — just muscle.
THE DOSAGE To help increase muscle strength, power and endurance, as well as help you gain muscle and keep off bodyfat, take 2–3 g of beta-alanine with your pre- and post-workout shakes on workout days. And go with 2–3 g with your morning protein shake on rest days.
REFERENCE: B.D. Kern and T.L. Robinson, “Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on performance and body composition in collegiate wrestlers and football players,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7):1804–1815, 2011.