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Beta Alanine for Bodybuilding: The Side Effects

Beta Alanine Effects

If you have begun to take your get ripped fast or get lean muscle training seriously, you have probably come across beta-alanine and wondered if it was for you or not? Beta-alanine is a recognized strength enhancer, but you may have heard the stories about the "effects" it can give you.

What's it all about? Would it give you benefits in 12 Week Lean Muscle Transformation? How do you avoid the side effects?

Let's learn all about the side effects of Beta Alanine by reading this post.

Beta Alanine at a Glance

Beta Alanine is an amino acid that can be synthesized in the liver. Your body, therefore, has the ability to produce beta alanine. However, most of the beta alanine that we get comes from the diet. Chicken and turkey, for example are, two really good sources.

Beta Alanine’s purpose in the body is to increase carnosine levels. Carnosine is present in the muscle cell to maintain intracellular pH levels. This allows you to work out longer when you are involved in explosive exercise, such as sprinting or weight training. By limiting the amount of acids that are building up in your muscles, you’ll be more explosive – especially towards the end of your workout.

Sources of Carnosine

Beta Alanine Benefits

When you work out, your body uses ATP as its energy source. When it does so, a by-product is the release of hydrogen ions in your body. This increases your muscle pH balance. Dropping your pH level is what you experience as fatigue. Carnosine buffers these extra hydrogen ions, essentially absorbing them.

High sources of Anserine

The bottom line of beta alanine is that it will help to delay the onset of training fatigue.

Beta Alanine Side Effects

A concern among some people is that when you supplement with beta alanine, your body will stop producing it naturally. This is not the case. A lot of our everyday beta alanine supply comes from the food we eat, so the body is designed to complement the two sources.

When you start taking beta alanine, whether in powdered or capsule form, you will get a pins and needles type sensation around your lips. This is often coupled with warm skin and slightly increased sweating. A tingling sensation will usually occur in the extremeties.

The scientific name for this phenomenon is paresthesia. Paresthesia is commonly caused by pressure on or damage to the peripheral nerves. The effect will disappear within 60-90 minutes of taking the supplement.

However, if you are irritated by this tingling and want to eliminate it, you can divide up your dose into smaller servings. Studies have shown that smaller doses have a smaller effect. Another option is to take a timed releaser formula. This will slowly release the beta alanine over a period of time.

Scientists are not exactly sure as to the reason that beta alanine supplementation is accompanied by a tingling sensation. They believe it has to do with the effect of this amino acid on the central nervous system and the way that some nerves react to interaction with the supplement.

This effect does not appear to be harmful and will diminish over time. In fact, many users look forward to this tinging sensation as a sign that the supplement is working.

Beta alanine may also result in a burning, itchy sensation in the ears and scalp.

Because your body has a self regulating ability regarding beta alanine, it will eliminate excess levels if they get too high. This will result in short term diarrhea.

Beta alanine may interact with certain medications, especially those taken to improve heart functioning. Erectile dysfunction medications may also be impaired by the use of beta alanine. The safety for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children, has not been established.

Beta alanine is a naturally occurring supplement, making it a relatively safe supplement option. However, it’s long term effects have not been studied, nor has its use in combination with other supplements.

The Proper Way to Take It

Because beta alanine improves the efficiency of your ATP system while training, it makes sense to take the supplement as a pre-workout. However, there is a cumulative effect of the concentration of carnosine produced from beta alanine supplementation, so the most important thing is to take it regularly.

Recent research suggests that the ideal beta alanine dosage of beta alanine is between 3.2 and 6 grams per day, split into two to three doses.

In order to avoid the tingling effects of beta alanine supplementation, you should break up your dosage throughout the day. For the tingling sensation to kick in, most people need to take more than 800mg at a time (4).

If you are taking 3.5 grams per day, divide that total into 5 doses of 70 mg, spread every couple of hours throughout the day. This will allow for the cumulative build-up of the amino acid without bringing on paresthesia.

Beta Alanine Combination

Stacking beta alanine with creatine is a great idea as both compounds help to overcome rate limiting factors in the body’s ATP energy system. Creatine is used to convert ADP back into ATP, so that it can be used for explosive energy.

Another smart idea is to combine beta alanine with taurine. Beta alanine and taurine are complementary in the boy. Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid. It is a key building block of protein. Because they both compete for uptake, increasing beta alanine may diminish the uptake of taurine. This may result in deficiency with resultant health complications. Studies on mice have shown that dosing either beta alanine or taurine in the absence of the other can result in lowered neurological and neuromuscular performance.

Beta-Alanine Key Points

  • It will allow you to off-set training fatigue
  • You need 3.5-6.0 grams daily
  • It produces a tingling effect, which is perfectly safe
  • To avoid the tingling effect, take less than 800 mg at a time
  • Stack with Creatine and Taurine

In summary, Beta Alanine supplementation is popular among vegetarian and vegan body builders, as they have about 50 percent less carnosine in their muscles compared to omnivores, who can obtain theirs from carnosine-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish.

Paresthesia is the most common side effect of beta alanine supplementation. The tingle is usually experienced in the neck, face and back of the hands, and increases in intensity with the amount of supplement you consume. The tingle usually doesn't appear in doses below 800 milligrams, and disappears 30 to 60 minutes after supplementation. This side effects of Beta Alanine is odd and weird, to be sure, but not harmful in any way.

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