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Beta-Alanine: What’s With That Tingling!?

Beta-Alanine

Over the years, Beta-Alanine has become one of the most pervasive bodybuilding supplement ingredients, and for good reason.  The research, and there has been quite a bit, indicates overwhelmingly that Beta-Alanine supplementation is an effective means of improving muscular endurance.  This makes it ideal for just about anyone trying to get stronger, faster, etc.

What Is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-Alanine is one of the amino acids that our bodies use to create the peptide Carnosine.  The other is Histidine, but research shows that Beta-Alanine is the rate limiting factor in Carnosine synthesis, not Histidine, so Histidine supplementation is unnecessary in most situations.

When it comes to muscular endurance, Carnosine’s function is quite simple.  It reduces Lactic Acid build-up in muscle tissue during exercise.  Lactic Acid, for those who don’t know, is what you feel burning inside your muscle when you exercise, and what eventually causes you to stop due to muscular fatigue.

Research has shown that higher muscle Carnosine concentration is associated with greater muscular endurance, so increasing Carnosine is of interest to anyone who wants to get stronger.

Beta-Alanine is a highly effective and reliable means of increasing muscle Carnosine, having been shown to do so in multiple studies in people with varying degrees of training experience.  It works really, really well!

The Tingling Sensation

If you’ve used Beta-Alanine before, you may have experienced this…

Beta-Alanine is known to cause a kind of tingling sensation that feels a bit like pins and needles.  This sensation, scientifically referred to as Paresthesia, is completely harmless.  Even those individuals who experience it intensely are not in any danger.  It’s completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about Paresthesia is that it is an indication that the Beta-Alanine is working.  This is largely the fault of supplement companies who don’t bother to inform their customers about what Beta-Alanine actually does, so they just assume its performance enhancement function has to do with the tingling.

To be clear, it does not!  Paresthesia is a harmless side effect and has no bearing on the muscular endurance enhancement effects of Beta-Alanine.  Some people feel it, some don’t, but that doesn’t mean Beta-Alanine “isn’t working” in those that don’t feel it.

Proper Beta-Alanine Dosing

Because these Beta-Alanine tingles can be felt with relatively low doses, many supplement companies under-dose the Beta-Alanine in their supplements quite severely but bank on customers “feeling the effects” anyway.

This is unfortunate, since Beta-Alanine actually has a lot of research behind it and a clinically effective range has clearly been established.

If you’re looking to improve muscular endurance, you should shoot for 3-6g of Beta-Alanine per day.  If tingling is an issue for you, you can split the dose as many ways as you want.  Just be sure you’re hitting that range.

Doses as low as 1.6g daily have been used successfully, but these sort of low doses will take longer to acheive muscle saturation.

Remember, Beta-Alanine isn’t instantly effective.  You need to consume it on a regular basis until your muscles are saturated in order to achieve a state of higher than normal Carnosine concentrations.  At that point, muscular endurance increases.

Is Beta-Alanine Safe?

Beta-Alanine is SUPER safe!  Not only has it been researched extremely extensively in humans, but none of those studies have reported any sort of meaningful negative effects.  Aside from the tingling sensation, Beta-Alanine is quite well tolerated by most people.

 

Beta-Alanine

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The Bottom Line On Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is worth taking by anyone who wants to improve their muscular endurance, either for sports or just because they want to progress in their training.  It is entirely safe, is not on the banned substance list of any major organization, and can take effect in as little as a week or two.

If you’re pre-workout supplement doesn’t list the precise dose of Beta-Alanine on the label, it is probably under-dosed.  You should throw it in the trash and get a new one from a brand that isn’t dishonest and shady, or just buy your own and mix it!

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