Beta- alanine : A Common Misunderstanding  

Beta- alanine is a ph buffer right, it is directly responsible for minimising the acidity of your blood and therefore helps you to train harder for longer. What if I was to tell you this was not the case, what if I was to say it is only part right, and if you were to profess this to some of the guys in the gym by means of justification for taking beta- alanine then I would say get it clear in your head first. This is because Beta- alanine is NOT the pH buffering nutritional component at all, histidine and the resultant carnosine is. However, Beta- alanine when paired with histidine does play a major part in the release of carnosine…and this IS a pH buffer that results in a reduction of muscle acidity. If you said ‘Beta- alanine can help to reduce the acidity (pH) of your muscles/blood’ then technically you’d be right, but if you were to say ‘Beta- alanine reduces the acidity of your blood’ then I’m afraid to say you’d be wrong.

Some might argue that it doesn’t matter how it works, fact is it works…and far be it from me to contest that. But for those people who love to discuss supplements and how they exert their ergogenic effect, then understanding the way they work in the body is a great tool in justifying their use. To conclude, Beta- alanine is integral to the processes involved in maintaining a healthy pH. You cannot consume carnosine on its own in order to by- pass having to take Beta- alanine as carnosine isn’t absorbed at all well by the body. Consequently Beta- alanine is a gem for optimal performance, but perhaps not in the way you initially thought.

Reference

Tipton, K, D. & Luc Van Loon, J, C. (2014). Nutritional coaching strategy to modulate training efficiency. Nestle Nutrition Institute. Basel: Karger

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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