*THE Beta-Alanine, Carnosine Thread, Brought to you by ATHLETIC EDGE NUTRITION*
- 04-19-2007, 01:11 PM
*THE Beta-Alanine, Carnosine Thread, Brought to you by ATHLETIC EDGE NUTRITION*
Anabolic Minds community, there are a few threads on Beta-Alanine spread through out AM, but no single source of information showing the full picture on what Beta-Alanine is and how it works. In response, we would like to make things easier for the AM community and offer a single comprehensive thread on Beta-Alanine. This thread will be a place where anyone can come to learn more about how Beta-Alanine works and the science behind it. This thread, is open to any discussion related to Beta-Alanine and we are always happy to try our best to answer any related questions. When ever you see our logo at the top of the post,the following post will be a summarized topic.
So lets start with the basics and see where this goes.
Benefits of Beta-Alanine as supported by Scientific Studies
Lean body mass (LBM)
Total work done (TWD)
Power output (PO)
Time to exhaustion (TTE)
Intramuscular carnosine concentrations, increasing buffering capacity
The onset of fatigue at physical working capacity/fatigue threshold (PWCft)
Ventilary threshold (VT)
Lactate threshold (LT)
History of Beta-Alanine
Although only recently brought to the forefront, Beta Alanine was discovered over 100 years ago. Also known as 3-aminopropanoic acid, it is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid. Not to be confused with L- Alanine, Beta- Alanine is classified as a non-proteinogenic amino acid as it is not used in the building of proteins and enzymes.
The greatest natural dietary sources of Beta-Alanine are believed to be obtained through ingesting the beta-alanine containing dipeptides: carnosine, anserine and balenine, rather than directly ingesting Beta-Alanine. These dipeptides are commonly found in protein rich foods such as chicken, beef, pork and fish. However, obtaining Beta-Alanine through these dipeptides is not the only way, as our bodies can synthesize it in the liver from the catabolism of pyrimidine nucleotides which are broken down into uracil and thymine and then metabolized into Beta-Alanine and B-aminoisobutyrate. Of course, it can also be ingested through direct supplementation.
Recently (2003), researchers began studying Beta-Alanine and examining its effects on exercise performance and lean muscle mass. We owe a great deal of credit and respect to the scientists who are in the trenches doing the work and publishing the research on Beta-Alanine. If it wasn’t for them, great supplements like Beta-Alanine and creatine might never have seen the light of day. Their ongoing research has revealed how to properly use these compounds and how to safely and effectively maximize their benefits.
One of the key scientists pioneering the performance research on Beta-Alanine is Dr. Roger Harris. His name may or may not sound familiar, but it should, as he is the same man that changed sports nutrition with his groundbreaking creatine study in 1992. It looks like the good doctor has found another juggernaut of a supplement in Beta-Alanine.
However, he is not alone. In the last two years, highly respected research scientist Dr.Jeffrey Stout has been in a frenzy publishing and compiling research on Beta-Alanine and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Other notable researchers who have been publishing research on Beta-Alanine include: Dr. Hill, Dr. Kim and Dr. Tallon.
How Does Beta-Alanine Work?
The support of high caliber researchers speaks volumes about the efficacy of Beta-Alanine and the science itself is even more impressive
Much of Beta-Alanine’s effects are realized by boosting the synthesis of carnosine, a dipeptide (two amino acids) intracellular (inside the cell) buffer. To understand how Beta-Alanine works, you must first understand its connection to carnosine. It is by boosting carnosine levels that Beta-Alanine exerts its outstanding performance benefits.
History and Background of Carnosine
The Russian scientist Gulewitsch was the first to identify carnosine in 1900. Eleven years later, he would discover and identify its constituent amino acids, beta-alanine and histidine. Seven years later, Barger and Tutin and Baumann and Ingvaldsen confirmed Gulewitsch’s findings. However, it wasn’t until 1938 that the first research on carnosine and its effects on muscle buffering were published.
Carnosine is found in both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers, though in significantly higher concentrations in type 2 fibers (the fibers we primarily use in high intensity strength workouts and which are most responsive to growth). Before we discuss how carnosine works, you must first have a general understanding of what is physiologically occurring during exercise. Specifically, what is negatively affecting muscular pH, making us weaker and causing fatigue?
Hydrogen ions are released during exercise, causing performance to plummet.
When we exercise, especially when it’s high intensity exercise, our bodies accumulate a large amount of hydrogen ions (H+), causing our muscles’ pH to drop (become more acidic). This process is occurring whether you feel a burn or not.
The breakdown of ATP and the subsequent rise in H+ concentrations occur in all of our energy systems but H+ buildup is most prevalent in an energy system called glycolysis, which also produces lactic acid. At physiological pH, lactic acid dissociates H+ and is the primary source of released H+ ions during exercise, causing pH to drop. It is the released H+ from lactic acid that causes muscular performance problems, not the leftover lactate ions as many incorrectly believe. While lactic acid is the primary source of released H+, it is not the only source. H+ ions are also being released at a rapid rate when you break down the high energy compound ATP during exercise. With the presence of many sources during energy production releasing H+, pH quickly drops as does muscular performance, slowing progress and lean muscle gains.
While muscle acidity has certainly proven to decrease strength and contribute to muscular fatigue, new research is now showing that exercise-induced intracellular free radical production is another source of muscular fatigue. The combination of muscular acidity and increased free radical production greatly diminishes your performance during exercise, stopping your workouts cold and interfering with lean muscle gains.
Much more to come....
- 04-19-2007, 04:06 PM
Nice post, sticky worthy.
- 04-19-2007, 04:11 PM
yes, thanks for posting this!
i read some of the other Beta Alnine threads. couldn't get a difinitive understanding on if it is benefitial to cycle BA (something like 3 months on - 1 off)?? maybe there is not enough research yet.
How Does Carnosine Work?
There are a handful of ways carnosine is thought to impact performance but its most studied function, and the focus of this article, is its role as an intracellular buffer. Carnosine helps stabilize muscular pH by soaking up hydrogen ions (H+) that are released at an accelerated rate during exercise.
Our bodies work to keep our pH in balance by utilizing various buffering systems. Buffers largely work by soaking up H+ to maintain optimal pH balance, which we need to function most effectively. As mentioned above, our muscles function best in a specific pH range. When pH drops below that range, so does muscular performance. By helping to keep us in a more optimal pH range, our muscles can continue to contract forcibly for a longer time.
There are a handful of buffering systems that work in our bodies. Some maintain pH in extra cellular fluids (ECF) outside of the cell, while others perform their duties in intracellular fluids (ICF) inside the cell and some perform in both. Our focus in this article is on exercise performance and, as mentioned above, the primary source of H+ released during exercise is from lactic acid and ATP breakdown. Take a guess where this breakdown and release of H+ is occurring? If you guessed inside our muscles or intracellular, you would be correct. As a result, the first line of defense in absorbing the H+ is going to be the cell from intracellular buffers such as carnosine, not from extra cellular buffers.
Aside from carnosine being just where we need it, buffering H+ inside our cells, it has additional, unique attributes that make it really shine. Carnosine is unique; in that, other natural buffering systems our bodies use are also used in many other cellular reactions aside from buffering, watering down much of their buffering abilities. However, what makes carnosine really exciting, is that by supplementing with extra Beta-Alanine, we can specifically and dramatically increase carnosine levels. How much, you ask?
Researchers have shown that when supplementing with Beta-Alanine for just 4 weeks, we can increase our carnosine concentration by 42-65%. Longer Beta-Alanine studies going up to 10-12 weeks, show carnosine concentrations increased up to 80%. This is a tremendous increase in an already powerful intracellular buffer. It is this large increase in buffering capacity within our muscles that is largely responsible for the strength, lean muscle, power and muscular endurance gains that researchers are seeing from Beta-Alanine studies.
The problem with that thread, is it has gotten so large, it takes a while to get through all of it. Also much of the information is scattered thoughout it, making it a little hard to follow at times.
We learned alot from that thread and look to make this one MUCH better and easier to navigate through and find the information you are looking for.
Regarding your question on cycling, here is our response.
The longest performance studies on BA, are in the 10-12 week range,with CARN levels continuing to increase up to 80% by week 12 as do performance improvements. There really haven't been any performance studies that go longer than 12 weeks, so it hard to know if there will be anymore benefit to taking BA beyond that point. At this point, based on the research we recommend anyone interested in maximizing IntraXCell/Beta-Alanine's benefits, to go on atleast a three month cycle.
If future research shows that BA can keep on increasing CARN levels beyond 12 weeks, we will update our recommendations.
Having said that, studies show BA to be EXTREMELY safe and many blood biochemical, hematological and hormonal markers have been looked at with no negative impact at all by BA supplementation. I don't see any harm in staying on BA continuously if you so chose. Even if BA doesn't increase CARN levels beyond the 12 week mark, simply staying on it to maintain those levels, performance benefits and vascularity is enough of a reason for me to stay on it continuously. Also the fact that I have a life time supply doesn't hurt either.
For people on a budget that can't stay on BA continuously, we recommend 3 month cycles with 2-4 weeks off in between them.
1. For people who can afford and want to stay on BA/IntraXCell all the time, there is nothing in the research at this point that says you can't. Maybe when longer studies are done on BA, BA will show performance improvements past 12 weeks, or maybe continued supplementation will just maintain CARN levels/performance. Or maybe it wont show either and in fact we should go off BA periodically. Until than, we stick to our recommendations of atleast three months of continued use of BA/IntraXCell and than leave the cycle frequency up to the user and what best fits their needs.
2. For people that can't afford to stay on BA/IntraXCell continuously, we recommend you try and go on it for atleast 12 weeks as the research support performance improvements, atleast up to the 12 week mark. We also recommend to cycle off it for 2-4 weeks, from a partly scientific standpoint and a partly customer value standpoint.
Relevant thread below, that also touches on the taurine Q. You will see my posts in there.
Should one 'cycle' beta alanine?
lactic acid has it's benefits... but in large amts or even when the amts are not neutralized/dimished... muscle wasting occurs.
from what i've read alanine acutally increases the buffer capacity of the muscle cells. basically keeping lactic acid from breaking the muscle down...
this is the main reason why aas users can run lo cal diet/ high cardio sessions, because the ability to synthesize muscle from proteins is increased.
but at an obvious physiological/pyschological/legal safety advantage, alanine can promote natural growth through other methods of muscle preservation.
people tend to not realize that it's not just the decreased test levels that cause a drop in muscle mass after a cycle, it's the onset of stress and it's hormonal and biological counterparts that also cause the breakdown of muscle. the sheer amount of high intensity training cannot be endured without some sort of un natural muscle preservation during such unnatural weight being lifted... so it's not just the test.. all of the acids and oxidation that takes place causes high levels of cell damage that aren't able to be kept under control... without continual substance abuse...
so utilizing something that's non steroidal and extremely beneficial, like alanine will not only help to increase muscle mass at our body's own natural capability, and help to neutralize alot of chemical stress from intensive exercise. this helps the lbm to be maintained after discontinued usage of alanine.
lactic acid also triggers the onset of muscle soreness and cramps. alleviating these tensions by decreasing it's buildup is also beneficial. it's not eliminating it, as it's just not beneficial to rid the body completely of it, but it helps to prolongate it's onset and also keeps the levels low enough to only be used to trigger those specific biological mechanisms that tell our body to start the process of cellular repair and nutrient utilization.
... i think. haha.
Look at this as constructive criticism.
Aside from it being used as fuel directly, it also is used to manufacture glycogen which in tern can be used as fuel.
While exercise induced DOMS is not fully understood, we know that lactic acid doesn't cause it. One likely contributing cause of DOMS, is micro tears in the muscle fibers, causing an inflammatory response. There are many other factors that are believed to be largely responsible in contributing to DOMS, but again lactic acid is not one of them!
see, i'm now smarter and wiser... that cleared up a lot.
i have this thing for lactic acid apparently i should just give up on it. and kick the ****er in the balls who kept plugging into my head. i think it was my 8th grade gym teacher.
Don't give up, just pick up a physiology/biochem book and dig in!
ya, i'm gettin there. hahaah. i'm a premed major and last time i've touched a bio book was 11th grade... i'm going to take cell bio next semester and then taking human phys the following. i'm quite rusty right now, but once i read it i'll retain it. so far so good in regards to maintaing my goals.
thanks for being so damn helpful. it really is wonderful to find someone willing to just continually help.
It's really my pleasure, we know the science behind out products and will always do our best to answer Q's and post useful info.
Here's a cut a past response of mine from another forum, very relevant to our lactic acid discussion and Beta-Alanine.
**Is Beta-Alanine safe?**
Is Beta-Alanine safe?
While this is not a frequently asked question, it should be. We understand many people care most about gaining muscle, looking great and performing at their best but safety should not be overlooked. We believe it should actually be the first question asked when considering a new supplement, even before you question efficacy.
The answer to the safety question is a resounding YES. Studies, going up to 12 weeks of continued Beta-Alanine use, have looked at a large array of blood biochemical, hematological and hormonal markers and no negative changes have occurred whatsoever. While it is impossible to say Beta-Alanine is one hundred percent safe until longer term studies are complete, we do know that up to 12 weeks of continued Beta-Alanine supplementation is indeed safe.
Why not just take Carnosine instead of Beta-Alanine?
When you ingest carnosine intact, most of it is broken down in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into its constituent amino acids, beta-alanine and histidine. Some intact carnosine does escape the GI tract freely but even that amount is quickly broken down in our blood by the enzyme carnosinase. In a very short time, all the carnosine you just ingested is either eliminated or broken down into beta-alanine and histidine. These two amino acids are then taken into the muscle, where they are converted back into carnosine with the help of the enzyme carnosine synthetase.
Unfortunately, only about 40% of the carnosine you take actually contains beta-alanine, making it an inefficient source at best. You are better off, from both efficiency and a financial standpoint, taking Beta-Alanine directly. You would have to take substantially more carnosine just to approach the increased concentrations of carnosine achieved by taking the scientifically recommended dose of Beta-Alanine. Clearly, taking Beta-Alanine is the superior solution to increasing carnosine levels.
How do we know Beta-Alanine is actually increasing carnosine levels?
Researchers have proven it by actually taking muscle biopsies (using a hollow needle to remove a small sample of muscle tissue) prior to the study and at various time points throughout the study. What they found is that Beta-Alanine does, in fact, effectively and significantly increase carnosine concentrations in the range of 42-80%, depending on the dosing and duration of the study.
Shouldn’t I take extra histidine along with Beta-Alanine since histidine is a component of carnosine?
No. Histidine is already present in high concentrations in muscle, while Beta-Alanine is only present only in small amounts. Researchers have determined that it is beta-alanine that drives carnosine synthesis, not histidine. Since this has been proven repeatedly in research, there is no need to supplement with extra histidine to increase carnosine levels. There are potentially some select populations like vegans, vegetarians or the elderly that may not get enough histidine in their diets and are thus deficient, which may compromise optimal carnosine levels. But, we still don’t recommend taking just extra histidine with Beta-Alanine. Instead, we recommend these groups and simply bump up their total protein intake which will in turn solve their possible histidine deficiency. For the majority of healthy people, only Beta –Alanine is needed as histidine deficiency is rare and no extra supplementation is needed to increase carnosine concentrations.
At what point during my workout set will extra carnosine concentrations exert their strongest effects?
Boosting carnosine levels with Beta-Alanine is effective at all points during your set, whether you’re lifting heavy or doing endurance work. Your body uses three energy systems to perform work: the ATP-PC system, which is primarily used during heavy lifting and for sets up into the 5-6 rep range; the glycolytic system, which is predominantly used roughly within the 7-15 rep range and up; and the oxidative/fat system, which is used primarily in endurance training. Our energy systems are utilized simultaneously; however, depending on the level of intensity or duration of exercise and fitness levels of the individual, certain energy systems will become more dominant in producing energy needed for that activity. Anybody who trains with weights will primarily use the first two systems and, in both cases, the build-up of hydrogen ions will contribute to fatigue in both systems, especially glycolysis.
This is where the supplement creatine falls a little short. It is mostly effective in the ATP-PC system, which relies on stored ATP and re-synthesis using phosphocreatine (PC) for intense, high-energy contractions. Taking creatine will help your explosive strength but it won’t help you much in the 7-15 rep range. As anyone trying to build bigger muscles knows, you must train in both heavy and moderate (7-15 reps) ranges to gain lean mass. Beta-Alanine, by increasing carnosine concentrations, can buffer/fight the H+ build-up that occurs in both these ranges, allowing you to maintain forceful contractions for longer periods of time.
Decreasing cellular fatigue is an additional strength of Beta-Alanine. A recent study demonstrates that Beta-Alanine significantly outperformed creatine in decreasing cellular fatigue, giving it yet another advantage over what has been considered the most effective sport supplement of the last decade.
Does Beta-Alanine replace creatine?
Beta-Alanine does not replace creatine. As shown above, they work differently and creatine is still effective for maximizing strength and power. If anything, they should be taken together as the ultimate one-two punch.
what kind of dosage should one take to see maximum effect?
How much Beta-Alanine is needed to cause performance increases?
Research has shown that you can take an amount between 3.2 grams and 6.4 grams per day to significantly boost carnosine levels and improve performance. The most recent research, now using 4-5 grams a day, is showing comparable carnosine concentration and performance improvements to those using 6.4 g daily.
Basically, in the fist month the higher dose of 6.4g will increase CARN concentrations at a faster rate, but once you get into month 2,3 and beyond, CARN concentrations even out when comparing 6.4 vs 4-5g's a day. 3.2g works, but probably isn't optimal. We look at the 6.4g dose as a loading dose, that can be used for 2-4 weeks if you need the performance benefits as fast possible,but after that, 6.4g really makes no difference over 4-5g's
Back on IXL as from today........
2 caps 3 times a day as the 3 caps serving gives me high prickles. But will be getting the same dosage throughout the day........
Diet and Nutrition Advisor
Did this text come from MD magazine or vice versa?
Also, can beta alanine be useful without sugar to help shuttle the stuff into the cells?
Oh yes, Beta-Alanine regardless of carbs will get into your cells and boost carnosine concentrations significantly. Carbs simply speed up the process.
Who can benefit from Beta-Alanine?
1 Individuals participating in weight training looking to gain lean muscle mass and increase strength.
2 Any individual involved in athletic activities where strength, power and muscular endurance are needed.
3 Active individuals who have reached a training plateau and are looking for a supplement to take them to the next level
Is there any info around how beta-alanine carnosine effects workout body temperature, it may be the Steeledge but i have been super warm and sweating like crazy, ideal for hard injury free workouts.
At last years ISSN conference I asked that EXACT question to none other than the pioneer of Beta-Alanine performance research, Dr.Harris. He told me they weren't seeing increases in temperature. There is something going on though in regards to sweating and I will see what I can come up with.
BTW, I thought of you today, regarding a new project we have in the works.
So this must mean Athletic Edge has a Beta Alanine supp coming out?
IntraXcell (180 caps) By Athletic Edge
Serving Size: 3 capsules
Servings per Container: 60
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol Acetate) 15 IU
-(Beta-Alanine (2g), N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid) 2,201mg **
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
** Percent Daily Values not established.
INGREDIENTS: Gelatin, cellulose, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, FD&C blue #2.
Would that be comparable to Incarnate?
No, we have had our Beta-Alanine supplement IntraXCell out for over a year now. We have many IntraXCell/Beta-Alanine threads on many forums, but we thought we would do something different with this one. This thread is specific to the science of Beta-Alanine and separate from our product. It's intended for people to have a place to go and learn about Beta-Alanine.
IntraXCell was the first capsule Beta-Alanine product in the world.
It was actually the first dedicated Beta-Alanine product out there,that didn't use a handful of other ingredients along with the Beta-Alanine, such CM or creatine.
BTW, if you have a chance, check out our five page Beta-Alanine article in this months issue of Muscular Development.
How long will it take to start noticing benefits?
Performance benefits typically occur in as little as two weeks, although some individuals will notice benefits within one week. As carnosine levels increase, the benefits will follow. The most dramatic results are generally experienced within the 3-4 week range but they donít stop there. Recent research is now showing carnosine levels continue to increase for a minimum of 12 weeks which is why we recommend staying on Beta-Alanine for at least three months to optimize your carnosine levels.
Immediate benefits: Many users experience intense vasodilation/pumps from the very first dose of Beta-Alanine. This experience occurs because Beta-Alanine increases carnosine and carnosine is a powerful precursor in generating nitric oxide synthase (a group of enzymes necessary for making the powerful vasodilator nitric oxide).
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