Beta-Alanine 101 For The Endurance Athlete

October 01, 2018

For those of you that follow The Core Diet nutrition program recommended by QT2 and OutRival Racing, you know that we don’t recommend many supplements at all.  This is because most supplements simply don’t work.  Money spent on supplements is almost always better spent on good quality food products instead!  Beta Alanine is one supplement that may have enough research behind it now to show some use in endurance sports.   In fact, Beta-Alanine may help support muscle capacity and lessen muscle fatigue to benefit athletic performance. The amino acid beta-alanine supports muscle function by acting as a buffer to delay the onset of muscle fatigue for durations of exercise under 5 minutes.

USAGE

We recommend that as an endurance athlete if you’d like to take advantage of Beta Alanine, the best time to supplement with it is during phases of training where efforts are in the range of 60 seconds to 5 minutes.  This is typically during the early anaerobic phases of training for most athletes. During this period, Beta Alanine may help improve performance and the amount of training stress you can apply over the phase of training where you supplement, thereby improving the training impact and progression.  

Research has shown that athletes obtain optimum beta-alanine intake by employing a “loading” phase of 4.8-6.4 grams per day into their workout regimen for 5 days before reducing the beta-alanine intake amount to a typical maintenance dose of 3.2 grams per day. If using the Klean SR Beta-Alanine, take 2 tablets 3-4 times daily during the loading phase and then 2 tablets 2 times daily for up to 7 weeks thereafter.  All doses should be spread throughout the day with one of them timed about one hour prior to your key training session that day.

QT2 & The Core Diet Recommends Klean SR Beta-Alanine.  We recommend the entire Klean Athlete fundamental supplement line because they have undergone rigorous testing by the NSF Certified for Sport® program which was created to meet the growing demands of athletes, coaches and healthcare professionals to certify that sports supplements are safe and free from banned substances. Every product that carries the NSF Certified for Sport® mark has undergone stringent laboratory testing to confirm content, purity and compliance.

FUNCTIONS AND MECHANISMS OF ACTION 

Studies published on SR CarnoSyn® beta-alanine have shown that 3.2-6.4 grams/day for 4-6 weeks increases ventilatory threshold, time to onset of muscle fatigue, time to exhaustion, and total work done in cycling exercises in untrained young adult male and female volunteers.Double-blind, placebo controlled human trials have shown that the work capacity of muscles during intense exercise lasting 60-240 seconds was improved in supplemented group compared to placebo. SR CarnoSyn® is a sustained release formula that improves muscle retention of carnosine. The sustained release profile allows for higher BA daily dosage which leads to greater retention of carnosine in the muscle. The greater retention of carnosine leads to higher working capacity of the muscle.

HOW IT WORKS (the science)

Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) is present in high concentrations of human skeletal muscle. The rate limiting precursor in carnosine synthesis is beta-alanine (BA). Hydrogen (H+) ions are produced when lactic acid levels rise during prolonged and intense exercise. The production of lactic acid can also result in higher acidity within the muscle and decreases the ability of the muscle to contract. BA helps balance pH levels during high intensity exercise. Higher carnosine levels in the muscle buffer the production of hydrogen ions. This allows for the muscle to contract with force and maintain endurance by delaying the onset of muscular fatigue. Increased muscle carnosine content is associated with performance enhancement in exercises of short, intense nature and in repeated maximal contraction bouts. 

Jesse is an elite/pro level triathlon coach who founded the QT2 Systems brand (www.qt2systems.com) of endurance preparation businesses, including The Core Diet (www.thecorediet.com) and is the cofounder of the Fieldwork Nutrition Co (www.fieldworknutrition.com). He is the triathlon coach of many professional athletes including Linsey Corbin, Jeanni Seymour, Justin Metzler, Jocelyn McCauley, and Jodie Robertson among others. His interests are in coaching professional triathletes using quantitative training and nutrition protocols. He is a USAT Level III Certified Coach and author of the book “The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook: The How, When, and What for Fueling Runners and Triathletes to Improve Performance."