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Does beta-alanine really work?

Beta alanine, the equivalent of creatine

An amino acid that does what creatine cannot: prolong muscle performance in activities lasting more than 60 seconds.

Creatine works. If you supplement with consistency, it will be there to support your ATP-CP energy system, so you can do a few more repetitions.

The problem is that it provides you with this energy boost for 20-40 seconds, in very happy cases up to a minute. After these thresholds, its efficiency drops drastically. Any set lasting more than 60 seconds makes creatine a useless supplement. It's usually not a problem because a typical set at the gym doesn't last more than 40 seconds. 

But in the meantime, other training methods have appeared, such as CrossFit or HIIT, plus advanced hypertrophy methods that take sets over 60 seconds. Such training methods create sets of 1-5 minutes, often with rest intervals of less than two minutes. In such cases, creatine just sits on the bar and watches! 

For activities that exceed 40-60 seconds, beta-alanine beats creatine ! Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that, like lime or creatine, increases your work capacity at certain intensities. 

Does beta-alanine really work?

Studies have shown that beta-alanine increases strength, power and endurance in various sports disciplines. 

Research was done on soccer players, who took 3.2 grams of beta-alanine per day for 12 weeks and increased their physical performance by 34.3%, compared to 7.6% in a placebo group. And boxers who took 1.5 grams of beta-alanine 4 times a day increased the strength of their punches 20 times and the cadence with which they sent their punches 4 times, compared to a placebo group. 

Another study on kayakers showed that they increased their performance on 2000 meters by 2.9 seconds.

Even the military has done research on beta-alanine and discovered that it can enhance performance specific to combat situations.

As beta-alanine is a hybrid between GABA and L-glycine, two powerful neurotransmitters, many researchers classify it as a second-class neurotransmitter, which is why it seems to have a stimulating effect. 

How does beta-alanine work?

Carnosine is a di-peptide molecule, made up of two amino acids: histidine and beta-alanine.

You ingest more beta-alanine, you create more carnosine . The latter absorbs the reactive oxygen species, which increase extremely much during the effort. And more importantly, from the point of view of performance, carnosine protects against the accumulation of hydrogen ions during high-intensity exercise. 

This prevents the decrease of the PH in the muscles, which means delaying the sensation of muscle burn, thus prolonging the working capacity of the muscles. 

Can I take beta-alanine from food?

The word carnosine is derived from the Latin carnem, meaning flesh. This suggests that the amino acid carnosine is found in meats, not plants. But, to obtain the effects of beta-alanine supplementation, you should eat a small organic farm every few days! 

As the daily doses of beta-alanine vary between 1.6 and 6.4 grams, you should eat between 400 and 1600 grams of chicken breast or 300-1200 grams of turkey breast, per day! 

Clearly, beta-alanine supplementation is the simplest and easiest way. 

Supplementation with beta-alanine

As with creatine, you cannot take a dose of beta-alanine and expect it to take effect in 30 minutes. It takes until enough carnosine accumulates in the muscles to start feeling its effects. 

In fact, the size of the doses doesn't even matter that much. The total dose over time is what matters. And the more time you take, the better you will perform in exercises that last between 1 and 5 minutes. 

If you stop taking it, carnosine levels drop by 2% every two weeks, a very slow decay. So you can take beta-alanine before training if it's easier for you that way, but it doesn't really matter what time of day you take it, but take it for a long time, daily, to have time for carnosine to accumulate in the muscles . 

The tingling sensation felt on the skin is caused by the neurotransmitter effects of beta-alanine and does not represent any danger . The phenomenon is called paresthesia. It's annoying and disappears quickly, but it doesn't affect your health or anything else in any way! This is the only known side effect of beta-alanine supplementation! 

Beta-alanine can be found as a stand-alone supplement, or mixed into pre-workout supplements.