Written By Dr. Roger Harris
Beta Alanine Ethyl Ester HCl
19 Nov 2007
Correctly named = Ethyl 3-aminopropionate hydrochloride
We have seen a few alarming cases of beta alanine ethyl ester HCl advertised for sale on the internet. While it may seem that this is a new form of beta alanine, we must draw your attention to the safety data of this unnatural product.
Sigma Aldrich, one of the major global pharmaceutical and chemical suppliers, states on its own website Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), the following:
1 - Toxicological Information
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF EXPOSURE
To the best of our knowledge, the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated.
MSDS is the international data standard covering a wide range of safety information intended for research and industrial handling of products and complies with international treaties. As a major global pharmaceutical company Sigma Aldrich really are a company that have access to current safety information.
Here's the link if you may want to go to and check for yourself.
Or alternatively you can go through the WWW to their site and do a search for the chemical and then click to see the MSDS page. The company is Sigma Aldrich.
Why you should be concerned.
This is not a natural chemical. It is not beta alanine. Whilst the name retains the words beta alanine it is not the same - it is chemically changed and the correct full name is ethyl 3-aminopropionate hydrochloride.
Without genuine clinical safety trials, which can take decades, to investigate safety for humans and possible long term side effects, it is not possible to say that this ethyl ester derivative is safe.
Part of the molecule has been covalently esterified (in this case to add on a -CH2CH3 or ethyl side chain). Esterifcation is a reaction between a carboxylic acid group -COOH with an alcohol group. Covalent bonds are chemically strong and do not simply dissolve or break down in the body unless they come under chemical attack or the body has a specific enzyme to perform this function.
The term hydrochloride is not part of the chemical structure. It is not covalently bonded to the rest of the molecule and only forms a weak 'ionic' association. The HCl is released as soon as it is mixed with water or when it enters the stomach for example, in contrast to the ethyl ester.
Chemically changing a molecule and toxicity.
Curiously there are two serious problems that are always overlooked (or deliberately avoided) when those sorts of products are marketed.
1. To be effective the ethyl side chain must be removed because it alters the chemical properties and prevents the specific enzymes from utilising the so-called beta alanine 'part' of the molecule.
2. The new ester chemical might be so close in shape to the original that not only does it find the necessary enzyme but it may also bind to it blocking the reaction site. If this happens permanently this is known as Non-competitive inhibition and this can be toxic.
The belief is that by altering the structure the chemical becomes more easily absorbed - however beta alanine (the real thing already is easily absorbed).
A similar myth has been created for creatine ethyl ester. Again, to be effective the ethyl ester side chain MUST be removed - otherwise you don't have creatine you actually have (?-Methylguanido)-acetyl-ethyl ester. This could be removed by a blood plasma borne esterase enzyme - totally defeating the claimed benefits in the first place. Because as soon as the side chain is chemically removed all you have once again is creatine that still has to be transported into muscle cells via the transporter- Didn't they tell you this bit? It would be interesting to see the results of a kinetics study of the effect of creatine ethyl ester upon Creatine Kinase (CK). CK is the body's only enzyme that can utilise creatine by adding a phosphate group - ready then to be used to regenerate ATP. CK is found in 3 isoforms: muscle, blood and brain. Something to risk toxic effects with? We think not.