This article here uses a couple of the studies I found on pubmed to show that not only is the slight Taurine depletion by Beta Alanine not detrimental to health, it is in fact HEALTHY in supplying the liver with increased anti oxidants and liver detoxifying agents.
Does beta-alanine protect organs?
Beta-alanine is best known for its role in improving exercise efficiency by reducing the buildup of hydrogen ions, or acid, in muscle. The increase in acidity produces muscle fatigue by inhibiting the function of energy-producing enzymes in muscle. Beta-alanine works because it’s a direct nutrient precursor of L-carnosine synthesis, which is a major intramuscular buffer.
But beta-alanine has lesser-known functions in the body, such as antioxidant activity and the ability to reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid, a protein that is directly related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A new study shows that beta-alanine may also help protect the liver from the toxic effects of various substances.
The study found that beta-alanine decreased the liver content of another amino acid, taurine, by 60 percent. Taurine and beta-alanine compete for uptake into the body because they share a transport system. Taking taurine with beta-alanine results in the rapid excretion of taurine in the urine. In effect, beta-alanine blocks the normal reuptake of taurine in the kidneys. Taurine is synthesized in the body from sulfur-containing amino acids, mainly cysteine and methionine. When beta-alanine causes the body to excrete taurine, the body responds to the loss of taurine by retaining more cysteine.
That’s significant because cysteine is required for the synthesis of glutathione, a major cellular antioxidant and one of the primary detoxifying elements found in the liver. In the new study, mice were given 3 percent beta-alanine in their drinking water for one week, then were exposed to carbon tetrachloride, a substance known to cause liver toxicity. Other mice didn’t receive the beta-alanine. The mice that didn’t get the beta-alanine had elevated liver enzyme levels indicative of impending liver damage. Those that received the beta-alanine, however, had no liver enzyme elevations.
The study showed that beta-alanine increased both glutathione and taurine levels in the liver, likely through increasing cysteine availability. So beta-alanine may be a natural liver protector, since the major job of the liver is to degrade toxins. Beta-alanine may ease the work of the liver by promoting increased liver glutathione.
Another new study looked at the effects of beta-alanine in women who train. Twenty-two women got either beta-alanine or a placebo for 28 days. They underwent various tests, such as fatigue threshold and maximal oxygen consumption, before engaging in a submaximal cycling bout. Those in the beta-alanine group showed a 13.9 percent increase in ventilatory threshold, a 12.6 percent increase in time to fatigue and a 2.5 percent increase in time to exhaustion. Those in the placebo group showed no changes from baseline values.
The study shows that women respond much as men do to beta-alanine supplements. The increased exercise capacity in both sexes is related to the higher muscle carnosine stores they experienced after using beta-alanine supplements.
Lee, S.Y., et al. (2006). Effect of beta-alanine administration on carbon tetrachloride-induced acute hepatotoxicity. Amino Acids. In press.
Stout, J.R., et al. (2006). Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. In press.