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