Podcast Episode 34 Transcript – Beta-Alanine

Aidan

00:00:07 – 00:00:36

Hello, and welcome to Episode 34 of the ideal nutrition podcast. I am one of your hosts, Aidan, you and I’m here with my co host, Leah Higl. And today we’re gonna be talking about Beta-alanine. And this is a supplement that I don’t give a lot of my athletes, I give it to some athletes like anyone who’s doing intense style training. There is some benefits you can get from it, but I guess there’s a lot to think about, so I suppose we’ll just get into it. What is beta-alanine?

Leah

00:00:36 – 00:01:10

I mean, it’s probably a good place to start, So Beta-alanine is an amino acid. Um, it’s not used in the production of protein. Um, it’s naturally produced by the liver, so it is naturally produced in the body, but you obviously can supplement it as well. Um, the benefits of Beta-alanine in supplementation don’t directly come from the better aligning itself or directly, um, but comes from the increase in muscle carnitine that occurs when you are supplementing with Beta-alanine. So when Beta-alanine is consumed, it is converted into carnage seen by joining with histamine. 

Leah

00:01:10 – 00:01:33

So that’s the point of actually supplementing with it. So the main function of interest for carnitine is that it helps to maintain the acid base equilibrium so it helps prevent pH from dropping by buffering the hydrogen ions. Um, that sounds very sci fi. Very like chemistry. Um, the simpler way to explain it is that it basically helps prevent that feeling of lactic acid build up.

Leah

00:01:33 – 00:02:16

Um, and I do kind of anyone listening and not watching. That’s kind of in quotation marks, because something Aidan and I were talking about previously is that, um, that whole lactic acid thing, probably not the appropriate terminology, but that’s what a lot of people refer to that actual like burning feeling as so That’s what, uh, supplementing with Beta-alanine in and improving your muscle Carnitine does help with. So you’re able to basically train at higher intensities for longer. Um, and that’s the point of supplementing. It does also aid in visa violation just a little bit as well. Um, it is mostly beneficial when you are training their capacity. 

Leah

00:02:16 – 00:02:52

So something like power lifting a lot of the time, probably not going to benefit a lot from fatality and supplementation because you’re usually, like, in the pocket with something like that. Um, but something like crossfit where you’re like balls to the wall. Each session could really benefit from this kind of supplementation. So it does seem to be most effective exercise that is in the range of that 60 to 240 second time frame. But realistically, anything lasting for 1 to 10 minutes is really where this supplement does shine and where you’re really working towards the near end of that kind of capacity. 

Aidan

00:02:53 – 00:03:01

Yeah, and like I suppose we have, like powerlifting like, I don’t know, maybe if you do some accessory work, that’s like 15 reps or more. It could help on those higher up yeah, kind of thing.

Aidan

00:03:04 – 00:03:42

Yeah and that’s the key. You actually have to take it. You’ve got to take it to fail because that’s where Beta alanine shines is when it’s like when you’re getting near to failure. Um, when you’re feeling that quote on quote lactic acid build up like feeling that burn and everything like that and that’s a bit of a bit of a test to see if that Alan is going to help you with whatever your sport or exercise or whatever is if you don’t ever feel that burn, you never really pushed that point. It’s not going to help. It’s only like when you’re really, really feeling that, like a lot of like race conditions, like if you do like 800 metre running and stuff like that, like it’s going to help a lot for that type of activity. 

Aidan

00:03:42 – 00:03:51

Crossfits where I really see it shine like I I just remember, like watching events and being like seeing how close some of them can be. It’s like, Well, if one person is not taking Beta-Alanine, and that’s what pushes it over the line.

Aidan

00:03:53 – 00:04:31

So another thing that could be obvious if you think about it enough. If the goal is to increase muscle carnosine, why don’t we just supplement? Why don’t we just suffering kind of scene? And and the reason we can’t do that really or why it’s not popular to do that is because it seems to mostly be metabolised before it actually gets the muscles and get stored and everything like that. If we supplement that, maybe there’s ways around it like there’s people who play around with, like, injections and stuff like that. But I just think average person doesn’t have access to that. So, like, that’s That’s why we don’t just get a kind of sense supplement from the store, okay? 

Aidan

00:04:32 – 00:05:18

The other thing is, that kind of thing is made up of histamine and beta-alanine, why don’t we supplement histamine? It’s because typically there is already enough histamine in in the muscles. The Beta Allen is the rate limiting kind of factor in this production of carnitine. So that’s why we go down that route. I’m not going to say that there is no application of carnosine supplementation or history and supplementation. 

Aidan

00:05:18 – 00:05:34

It seems to be the most effective way of raising muscle carnosine in terms of how much it helps dosages of, say, 4 to 6 grams of bad Allen, 19 per day have been shown to increase muscle kind of seen by up to 64% over four weeks, and after 10 weeks at those types of dosages, we’re looking at about 80% so it’s pretty massive increase in kind of seen. I’ve seen other studies showing like a 200% increase and stuff like that. So it’s like this is like there’s huge potential to increase carnosine and at higher doses than high dosages all longer and stuff like that these days ago for, like, six months.

Aidan

00:05:36 – 00:06:08

Um, There was a study that I also was reading today that showed 12 grams Beta-alanine in for two weeks, increased carnosine as much, uh, 12 grams per day for two weeks. Increased as much as six grams per day for four weeks, which really interesting because we wouldn’t see that with many supplements like that, literally doubling the dose doubled. How much kind of scene increased, even though it was half the duration? Um, so that’s something to think about. And I’m going to touch on that more later.

Aidan

00:06:09 – 00:06:42

yeah, for what we’re talking about with that, like, I suppose like 8 to 20 rep range, depending on threshold, your reps are and stuff like that. If it gets above 60 seconds, you’d be looking at getting an additional one or two reps. Basically, um, in terms of like those race condition kind of things. A meta analysis on the topic found that the average improvement in studies that have been done on that island and so far is 2.8% in terms of time. That’s a lot for a supplement like, it doesn’t sound impressive when you put it like that we’re talking about. Are you talking like high level athletes that really are quite close together? It could make the difference. 

Aidan

00:06:49 – 00:07:31

And if you’re doing a race condition, sport like anyone wants, like, 3% off their time. And there’s other factors to consider. This, like I think Beta-alanine, is often under dosed, and so it’s not done for long enough. You could potentially get more and then another interesting thing. And this is criticising the sports nutrition world. But time to exhaustion Style studies typically show even more. Improvement is so beta-alanine, and typically they’re showing greater than 10% improvement in performance. And I have I couldn’t find it when I was pregnant for this podcast, but I recall seeing studies at like a 50% improvement in performance in time to exhaustion. But how relevant is that for race condition type stuff is not really relevant. We care about race condition, studies. We don’t really care about time to exhaustion.

Aidan

00:07:32 – 00:07:43


As I said, I kind of feel like better. Allen has been under dosed or not taking full advantage of, and it’s showing this kind of like 3% improvement in performance in terms of race conditions. So that’s kind of cool as well. 

Leah

00:07:43 – 00:08:32

Yeah, so potentially pretty huge benefit when we’re talking, just supplement. Um, so how to take it? So you touched a little bit on dosages. So the typical dosage is 4 to 6 grams taken daily. Um, but usually you would mostly split this over multiple doses across the day to prevent the worst part of this supplement. And that’s like tingly feeling the paresthesia that you get from it or, well, most people get. We’ve talked about that you didn’t really get at lower doses, but like I definitely do within a 46 gram dosage. Definitely that I would experience that, Um, so if that’s not something that you want every single day or you don’t enjoy that feeling, you would have to split that that dosage over the day. Do you feel like in terms of the dozing of particular research? Do you reckon that’s a limiting factor and how much they actually give people like? That’s probably the biggest limiting factor that is the limiting factor.

Aidan

00:08:39 – 00:09:01

And I was wondering I was reading that study where they took 12 grams per day. I’m like, How did the participants feel? Like I didn’t read into in depth in terms of how the participants felt, but like, that’s the barrier like, imagine you taking that like, based on what you just said. It’s like if you feel beta-alanine And if you were to get 12 grams per day, you’d have to have four grams four times a day. 

Leah

00:09:01 – 00:09:26

Yeah, that’s a lot of time commitment to a supplement. And if you’re a high level athlete, you’re really banking on this like it makes sense. But for the everyday gym, go up CrossFit up. Um, editor. I think the taking it can almost be too much of a hassle in doing it and just doing it every single day. But if you don’t get the paresthesia at those doses, you can take it all in one hit. 

Aidan

00:09:26 – 00:09:51

Yeah, for sure And like that, I suppose, because the alternative to this is like sodium bicarb has a similar kind of like it’s based on a similar mechanism, but sodium bicarb is probably more inconvenient than taking bad element. Like, Yeah, I do agree, though, in terms of like, I personally would have zero interest in taking something four times per day unless it was my career, unless I really cared about it or whatever. But that’s why I find it lucky that like 

Aidan

00:09:52 – 00:10:11

I can have five plus grams in a single sitting and get mild symptoms or whatever. And it’s like that could even be a trade off being like maybe you find a level of paresthesia that you’re okay with, and you just take that dose a little bit less frequently versus trying to completely avoid it, but having to spread it out. It’s a very individual dosing kind of strategy. 

Leah

00:10:11 – 00:10:27

I wonder how bad that paresthesia can get or like, whether it like it taps out at a certain point and then taking more doesn’t contribute to that. I just thought about like take 12 grams in one hit with that. Kill me be roughly the same as taking six in terms of how it felt. 

Aidan

00:10:27 – 00:10:54

And I suppose that’s like, That’s why. Why I’ve shared my experience. Where I did take that. What I assume was around 15 grams in a single sitting. Yeah, And like, now that I’ve done that, I’m like, I do feel mild symptoms at five or six grams or whatever. Um, and the symptoms to get worse. And like paresthesia wasn’t the only symptom I got. I got nausea when I went 15 grams. So that’s something to consider that I don’t think it just cuts out. I do. But, like, I wonder where the line is like, I don’t know. 

Leah

00:10:54 – 00:11:11

Surely it’s not just like a street lecture. Yeah, council somewhere, but interesting. Um, talking more about the side effects. There is a little bit of talk around touring, depletion being a possible side effect. Um, but that actually happening in practise hasn’t really been identity. Do you know where that actually comes from? 

Aidan

00:11:12 – 00:11:39

I did look into it, and there is a mechanism behind it. But like the reason why I’m not overly concerned about it is because their studies on beta-alanine enough to six months. That’s the longest one I’m aware of. And they just they just didn’t find. And that was a decent dosage of above four grams and they didn’t identify. That is enough for me to be like, No, I’m not going to yellow and have, like, 10 plus grams every single day for the rest of my life. But like, yeah, and another thing, that’s just an interesting thing. It’s like if you ever have energy drinks like the amount of terrain in an energy drink is, it’s well over 10 times the amount that you get through food.

Aidan

00:11:39 – 00:12:08

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because, like Korean has a lot of applications, like even for, like, insulin sensitivity. Stuff like that people use Torine is like a therapeutic kind of, um, supplement, actually. But it is an interesting thing that’s like, Well, what if about it? I mean, maybe put you slightly at risk with that, like maybe you could have touring occasionally to offset that, but I don’t know. That’s that’s a niche kind of problem to worry about, really. Deep down the rabbit hole there, yeah, the research hasn’t shown that.

Aidan

00:12:10 – 00:12:54

Um, I guess the other thing touching on is like, How am I coming to the conclusion that studies are significantly under dozing about it? I mean, basically, the thing you said about how paresthesia is the limiting factor. Um, that’s why they cap it at that kind of 4 to 6.4 kind of gram style dosage outside that random study with 12 grams but measuring muscle carnitine levels, almost every single study has muscle carnitine increasing when the study is ended. Like we talked about creatine, like you do the five day loading phase or whatever, and then you get to the optimum amount of credit, it just doesn’t seem to go above that. And if you took a standard dosage 30 days, you kind of reach that point anyway. 

Aidan

00:12:55 – 00:13:21

With beta-alanine, there’s studies that, like gone, they’ve gone on for 10 plus weeks and they’re still increasing, like the percentage of muscle carnitine is still increasing. So maybe we can get more than an average of 3% improvement in performance. Maybe we can get 4% on average. Maybe it’s 5% like that’s probably reaching, but it’s probably higher than what we’re actually seeing in the research. So how can we get around it? One way is maybe the injections. I don’t know enough about that to care.

Aidan

00:13:23 – 00:13:49

Another way is slow release Beta-alanine. So I always looking at this, and it doesn’t seem popular because there’s not many studies on it yet. But theoretically, if you have slow release beta-alanine and it decreases the paresthesia, um, there’s one I think is called clean sports or something like that. They sell it in Australia. So it is a thing in Australia, Bulk nutrients and v pa. They don’t but there is options for this in Australia. Um, that’s also something to think about it. Just taking a normal dosage beta-alanine causes symptoms, but your options could be to get that.

Aidan

00:13:50 – 00:14:24

And the studies that I have read show that it’s still increases muscle kind of scene at the same extent, if not slightly more so like, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the direction things head down the line. It’s just not as well researched just yet. Another option is to yellow and just go higher. I just have more the So like the Mat Fraser approach was just like he embraces the feeling of paresthesia. 

Aidan

00:14:24 – 00:14:36

He likes the feeling, and it’s kind of like, what if he’s having 10 grams or whatever and everyone else is out here having four or whatever? Because that’s what the research shows like the bulk nutrients, one that I’ve got It says on the back of the package, saying something like, Don’t have more than five grams per day like that’s the warning on it. And as we said in the studies, even the studies are going high. But they’ve just got to protect themselves. They don’t want to have to have that. 

Leah

00:14:42 – 00:14:52

Yeah, whereas like Matt phrases out here just like dry, scooping it like I can’t imagine, I feel like I’d probably die. But I mean, yeah, that’s definitely the limiting thing is the paresthesia. But it would be really cool to see where this research does. 

Aidan

00:14:52 – 00:15:33

Yeah, and I’m actually very interesting because the slow release starts very interesting to me, and I’ve heard other people briefly touched on it, being like, Well, maybe there is potential for, like, kind of seen supplementation, history and supplementation and combining these with Madeleine in, like, to get higher. Like I I can’t comment on that enough because I haven’t seen research on that because I don’t think the research really exists, but, like, theoretically would have kind of seen is not very well absorbed from supplementation, but it’s a little bit absorbed. Maybe you could get, like, 80% of the increase incarnation in a body that you’re going to get from bad at Alamein and another 10 to 20% by adding incarnation and historian supplementation on top like that’s just speculative. I’m just interested in seeing where that goes, because it’s obviously something that we can do to improve performance that hasn’t been fully tapped yet, so it’s an interesting place to be watching. So that has been Episode 34 of the ideal nutrition podcast. If you could please leave a rating and review that would be greatly appreciated. But apart from that, thank you for listening.