Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is used as a building block for carnosine. Carnosine is a dipeptide that aids in the buffering and removal of harmful byproducts in cells. Increased carnosine levels can increase endurance and aid in healthy aging. Beta-alanine is generally regarded as safe, with flushing or tingling of the skin the only side effect in healthy individuals.
Carnosine is a dipeptide, two amino acids linked together, that is present in all cells, particularly in skeletal muscle and the brain. Carnosine acts to control damage from free radicals, acids and excess metal ions in order to prevent damage to cellular components. Increased concentrations of carnosine in muscle and other cells has been shown to increase endurance by removing byproducts of intense exertion and promote healthy aging by preventing the buildup of wastes.
Carnosine is produced in your cells from beta-alanine and L-histidine. Increasing protein intake can increase carnosine concentrations to normal levels if yours are low. According to a recent study reported in the March 2010 "Sports Medicine," supplementing with 4.8 to 6.4 g of beta-alanine in two to four divided doses significantly increases muscle carnosine levels.
Ingestion of more than 800 mg of beta-alanine in a single dose has been shown to cause mild burning or flushing of the skin. This may be alleviated by taking doses with meals or by taking a time-release formulation of beta-alanine.
Beta-alanine is generally regarded as safe in healthy individuals. Check with your doctor or another health professional before taking beta-alanine if you have a medical condition or take medication on a daily basis. Those with food allergies should check with supplement manufacturers to determine whether it was processed in a facility that may contain allergens.
- Maridav/iStock/Getty Images