Beta-alanine, cycling and sore legs
Beta alanine is often seen as the best dietary supplement for cyclists. Is this just another myth? Certainly not. Beta alanine was used by cyclists decades ago at the Tour de France - well, not exactly beta alanine, at that time there was only baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate has been a remedy for leg pain for many years, since it is supposed to reduce muscle acidity. Beta alanine works in a similar way. It increases carnosine levels and, by improving the cell buffer, it decreases lactate levels so a cyclist, triathlete, soccer player or swimmer may perform better. Beta alanine is especially efficient for sprints and at shorter intervals. Best of all, beta alanine has no side effects, except for the itching due to activation of nerve endings.
What is beta alanine anyway??
Beta alanin is an amino acid that is only produced in small quantities by the body and is also introduced into it through an alanine-rich diet. It is mostly found in chicken breasts, beef, fish and soy. Unfortunately, the amounts we ingest through food are too small, so it has to be taken as a dietary supplement.
Why use beta alanine at all?
You certainly know at least one cyclist who claims that baking soda is the best cycling supplement. Even professional cyclists used to eat natrium bicarbonate, as it increases the pH in the muscles, thereby reducing muscle acidity and relieving sore feet. Beta alanine works similarly, except that you do not need to consume 25g while suffering from digestive problems.
What is beta alanine? Intense physical activity, such as running, cycling, swimming, or rowing, results in muscle fatigue due to excess acid in the muscles. In addition to the decrease in exercise capacity (acetylcholine), we are dealing with muscle acidity (acidosis), which results in sore feet or burning pain. Beta alanine increases the muscle level of carnosine, a peptide of two amino acids, which in turn improves muscle buffering capacity. Buffer is a substance that regulates the acidity and basicity of cells - by maintaining a stable pH regardless of the amount of acid, it allows the body to exercise longer and more intensely. With food alone, so without the addition of beta-alanine in the form of nutritional supplements, we cannot prevent acidification during intense exercise, since acidification depends on the amount of beta-alanine available.
How to take beta alanine?
The beta alanine efficiency is highest for short-term efforts, lasting from a few seconds to half an hour. A study conducted in 2015 on military personnel showed that all physical efforts were worthwhile in any kind of endurance activity. Proper and regular intake results in better fitness and better results, both in terms of time and endurance.
The daily dose of beta alanine depends on the individual's body weight, and roughly 3-7 grams per day should be taken. Due to its completely harmless side effect, slight itching - when beta-alanine affects the nerve endings - it is best to divide beta-alanine into 2-3 portions a day. So, on an empty stomach, when the stomach is under the least amount of “ballast”, before and after training. Over time, the itching sensation disappears for most people, allowing them to adjust or increase the dose. We recommend twice daily 3.5g for people over 80kg, or twice 2.5-3g daily for athletes who weigh about 70kg.
Attention! Beta alanine should be plentiful and optimal results will only occur after 14 weeks of regular administration. Cycling studies have shown that after four weeks of beta alanine supplementation, work capacity has increased by 13% and has increased by another 3.2% after only ten weeks.
With beta alanine, its effects can be seen mostly in sportsmen engaged in most intensive, almost explosive physical activities. A rowing group that had been taking beta-alanine for seven weeks outpaced the placebo group by 4.3 seconds. The effect has been proved when taking 5g beta alanine daily.
Will I gain muscle and strength due to beta alanine?
No! At least not in the form of hypertrophy and one-off thrusts. Claims that beta alanine could increase muscle mass are still unsupported by serious studies. Also, the effect on repetitive and learned muscle patterns has not been confirmed - for example when lifting some weight. While beta-alanine helped increase endurance, decrease fatigue, and enabled more repetitions in exercise, it had no effect on strength. So, beta alanine is best for cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, football players, basketball players, all those who need to build their endurance, not so much for powerlifters and fitness enthusiasts.
Does beta alanine have any other potential benefits?
Very likely! Beta alanine, as previously stated, increases carnosine levels. Studies have shown that carnosine is an antioxidant that can reduce age-related processes and improve the immune system. This is why some women enjoy it for healthy and radiant skin. But to be honest, such claims would require more in-depth research, since it is always difficult to prove the holistic impact of a single supplement on any complex physiological system.
I'm a vegetarian. Can I take beta alanine?
Yes, it is especially recommended for people who do not consume enough of it with food. If you are vegan, beta alanine works as an easy step to improve performance and increase carnosine levels in your body. Nduranz also offers beta alanine in vegan capsules.
Sounds nice! Am I going to face some negative side effects?
No, if you are not taking heart or erectile dysfunction medicines, you are safe, as effects of these can be voided by beta alanine. Beta alanine has no side effects, with the exception of a slight itch at the start of administration.
Beta alanine is already a well-known thing among professionals, and slightly less so among recreational athletes. You could say that for cyclists, beta alanine is as important as creatine is for weight lifters. That's why we are offering you Nduranz Beta Alanine at a promotional price of €19.99 - it comes in a package of 180 vegan capsules. This way, you can take on your favorite hills during the beautiful spring days and see how it works!
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