Beta alanine is an non-essential amino acid that’s quickly become an “essential” supplement in when it comes to maximizing performance. The real magic to beta-alanine lies mostly in its ability to increase muscle carnosine concentrations. See, beta-alanine is the limiting amino acid in carnosine synthesis, meaning that the amount of beta-alanine present in the bloodstream is directly tied to muscle carnosine levels.
Carnosine functions as a powerful lactic acid buffer in skeletal muscle. When exercising, lactic acid starts to accumulate in the muscle and this creates an acidic environment in its cells. As acidity increases (from the breakdown of lactic acid into hydrogen ions), a quintessential “burning sensation” sets in the muscles, eventually diminishing their ability to fully contract. Furthermore, force production, performance, endurance, and power begin to decline as well.
Supplementing with beta-alanine results in elevated carnosine levels which enhances the acid-buffering capacity of your muscles, ultimately allowing you to work out with greater intensity for longer durations of time. Athletes using beta alanine experience increased power output, strength, training volume, high-intensity exercise performance and aerobic capacity (peak oxygen uptake).
One thing to be wary of is that when taken in large doses (>2g), beta alanine causes paresthesia (a.k.a. “the tingles”), which may be off-putting to some. To avoid this, simply split your beta alanine doses up during the day into 2 or 3 separate smaller doses.