Beta-alanine is an amino acid that has been the focus of research in recent years due to its potential support for athletic performance and overall health.* In this article, we will explore the history, chemistry, biology, interesting facts, and food sources of beta-alanine.
History of beta-alanine
Beta-alanine was first discovered in the early 20th century and was identified as a component of carnosine, a dipeptide found in muscle tissue. It was not until the 1990s that researchers began to investigate more seriously the potential benefits of beta-alanine supplementation for athletic performance.
Chemistry of beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is a beta amino acid, meaning that the amino group is attached to the beta-carbon atom rather than the alpha-carbon atom. It is the only beta amino acid that is found in nature. Beta-alanine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid, meaning that it is not incorporated into proteins in the body.
Biology of beta-alanine
When beta-alanine is ingested, it is taken up by muscle cells and combined with the amino acid histidine to form carnosine. Carnosine acts as a buffer, helping to neutralize the hydrogen ions that are produced during high-intensity exercise. By buffering the buildup of hydrogen ions, carnosine might help to positively support the onset of fatigue and allow certain athletes to perform at a higher level for longer.*
- Beta-alanine is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue and is also present in some foods, including meat and poultry.
- Beta-alanine is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements due to its potential ability to support athletic performance.*
- Beta-alanine is the limiting factor in the synthesis of carnosine in muscle tissue, which is why beta-alanine supplementation might be used to help support muscle carnosine levels.
Food sources of beta-alanine
While beta-alanine is not an essential amino acid, it is found in some foods, including meat and poultry. Foods that are particularly rich in beta-alanine include chicken breast, beef, pork, and fish. Vegetarians and vegans may have lower levels of beta-alanine in their diet, as it is primarily found in animal-based protein sources.
In conclusion, beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that has gained attention in recent years for its potential benefits for athletic performance and overall health. Beta-alanine is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements, and can also be found in some foods such as meat and poultry. Beta-alanine supplementation might help support athletic performance among certain athletes.* You can also read about CarnoSyn® beta-alanine.
As with any supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting a beta-alanine supplement.