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Beta-alanine

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Also listed as: Beta alanine
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 3-Aminopropionic acid, beta-alanine, carnosine, CarnoSyn®, suosan.
  • Combination products: NO-Shotgun® (creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, arginine, alpha-ketoisocaproate, and leucine); OptygenHPT (rhodiola, beta-alanine, Cordyceps CS-4).

Background
  • Beta-alanine is a beta-amino acid that differs structurally from most amino acids found in the diet. In the body, beta-alanine forms part of the structure of vitamin B5, carnosine, and dihydrouracil. In the diet, beta-alanine is found mostly in meat, such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish.
  • Beta-alanine is thought to enhance exercise performance, mainly for activities that require power or strength, such as sprinting or weight lifting. Human studies have shown that beta-alanine may increase time to exhaustion, peak power during running, and an increase in weight and number of repetitions for the bench press. However, more research is needed.
  • Amounts of beta-alanine over 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight may cause a feeling of "pins and needles." This feeling may go away after a few weeks of continuous use.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Studies suggest that beta-alanine may benefit body and muscle mass, muscle strength, and exercise performance in many types of athletes. However, there is conflicting evidence. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


Preliminary studies found that beta-alanine was not as effective as some clinical drugs for reducing symptoms of menopause. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Aging, anti-inflammatory, fatigue (muscle), food uses, nerve disorders, physical endurance, vasodilator (widens blood vessels).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • To improve exercise performance, two grams of beta-alanine has been taken by mouth daily for two weeks. The dose has then been increased to three grams daily for the next two weeks and then four grams daily for four weeks. A dose of 4.8 grams has been taken by mouth daily for 30 days. A dose of 3.2 grams of a beta-alanine product (CarnoSyn®, Natural Alternatives International, San Marcos, CA) has been taken by mouth for one week, followed by a dose of 6.4 grams daily for three weeks.
  • Secondary sources report that beta-alanine should be used daily during heavy training for at least 2-4 weeks. Other sources suggest a minimum of daily use over 12 weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for beta-alanine in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to beta-alanine. An allergic reaction may occur if beta-alanine is inhaled, eaten, or touched.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Beta-alanine is considered safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods. Beta-alanine is considered safe when used in doses of 4.8-6.4 grams daily for up to 30 days. However, there is a lack of safety information from human clinical trials.
  • Use cautiously in people who have chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking vasodilators (blood vessel-widening agents) such as sildenafil (Viagra®) or vigabatrin (Sabril®).
  • Avoid in people who have hyperbeta-alaninemia or dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to beta-alanine. Allergic reaction may occur if beta-alanine is inhaled, eaten, or touched.
  • Avoid in children and in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to lack of safety data.
  • Beta-alanine may cause eye irritation, lung irritation, a pins-and-needles sensation, skin flushing and irritation, and stomach irritation.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety data.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Beta-alanine may interact with impotence agents (agents that improve sexual performance), vasodilators (agents that widen blood vessels), and vigabatrin.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Beta-alanine may react with agents that enhance exercise performance, aphrodisiacs, creatine, taurine, and vasodilators (agents that widen blood vessels).

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Deldicque L and Francaux M. Functional food for exercise performance: fact or foe? Curr Opin.Clin Nutr Metab Care 2008;11(6):774-781.
  2. Derave W, Ozdemir MS, Harris RC, et al. beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. J Appl.Physiol 2007;103(5):1736-1743.
  3. Dunnett M and Harris RC. Influence of oral beta-alanine and L-histidine supplementation on the carnosine content of the gluteus medius. Equine Vet.J Suppl 1999;30:499-504.
  4. Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, et al. Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity. Amino.Acids 2007;32(2):225-233.
  5. Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Faigenbaum AD, at al. Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res 2008;28(1):31-35.
  6. Hoffman J, Ratamess NA, Ross R, et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med 2008;29(12):952-958.
  7. Kendrick IP, Harris RC, Kim HJ, et al. The effects of 10 weeks of resistance training combined with beta-alanine supplementation on whole body strength, force production, muscular endurance and body composition. Amino.Acids 2008;34(4):547-554.
  8. Kendrick IP, Kim HJ, Harris RC, et al. The effect of 4 weeks beta-alanine supplementation and isokinetic training on carnosine concentrations in type I and II human skeletal muscle fibres. Eur J Appl.Physiol 2009;106(1):131-138.
  9. Stellingwerff T, Boit MK, and Res PT. Nutritional strategies to optimize training and racing in middle-distance athletes. J Sports Sci 2007;25 Suppl 1:S17-S28.
  10. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Mielke M, et al. Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold. J Strength Cond.Res 2006;20(4):928-931.
  11. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Zoeller RF, et al. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino.Acids 2007;32(3):381-386.
  12. Stout JR, Graves BS, Smith AE, et al. The effect of beta-alanine supplementation on neuromuscular fatigue in elderly (55-92 Years): a double-blind randomized study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2008;5:21.
  13. Tipton KD, Jeukendrup AE, and Hespel P. Nutrition for the sprinter. J Sports Sci 2007;25 Suppl 1:S5-15.
  14. Van Gennip AH, Abeling NG, Vreken P, et al. Inborn errors of pyrimidine degradation: clinical, biochemical and molecular aspects. J Inherit.Metab Dis 1997;20(2):203-213.
  15. Van Thienen R, Van Proeyen K, Vanden Eynde B, et al. Beta-alanine improves sprint performance in endurance cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009;41(4):898-903.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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