Beta-alanine has become a fitness world staple, and the amino acid supplement is being stocked up by numerous providers. If you want to help your customers work out hard, stay healthy and return for more, you should know why beta-alanine persists as one of the supplement world’s best-selling items.
What Do Beta-Alanine Supplements Do?
Beta-alanine, or 3-aminopropionic acid, is a beta-amino acid which is naturally occurring in the human body. It’s a component of anserine and histidine dipeptides carnosine. It’s also a component of pantothenic acid—better called vitamin B5. Beta-alanine is a hybrid of GABA and L-glycine, giving consumers a near-caffeine-like response to the ingredient.
In recent years, beta-alanine has gained popularity in the scientific world because of its classification as a neurotransmitter. Meanwhile, it’s being supplemented to raise the user’s muscle carnosine concentrations. Those supplementing beta-alanine, on average, experience a muscle carnosine concentration increase by up to 58 percent within four weeks. Within 10 weeks, muscle carnosine can increase by 80 percent.
What’re the Benefits of Beta-Alanine Supplements?
So, how exactly do beta-alanine supplements help boost its consumer’s performance? The amino acid has several benefits, enhancing the user’s overall fitness level without unbalancing natural bodily states.
Firstly, beta-alanine boosts the effectiveness of creatine. The poster-child of bulk-building supplements, creatine assists with the building of lean muscle, fat reduction, strength increases and power increases. Beta-alanine, reportedly, increases the base absorption of creatine when taken in conjunction with the supplement.
Beta-alanine also combats muscle fatigue. Carnosine is a dipeptide which fights acidic buildup as an individual engages strength training. Because carnosine is partially comprised of beta-alanine, taking beta-alanine as a supplement can fight muscle fatigue. A 2010 Nutrients study examined 800-mg doses of beta-alanine consumed multiple times per day—determining the supplementation can elevate muscle carnosine levels by up to 66 percent.
Beta-alanine does provide some blatant strength gains, too. An International Journal of Sport Medicine study researched squatting exercises after each squatter had consumed a beta-alanine supplement for 30 days. The results depicted men who could squat 22 percent more squats when performing at 70 percent effort.
The Beta-Alanine Itch
Beta-alanine supplements are well-known for their iconic itch. The beta-alanine itch occurs roughly 15 minutes after the supplement is consumed, starting in the face, neck, shoulders and arms. The beta-alanine itch is so popular, in fact, that supplement providers have marketed beta-alanine products off of the itch alone.
The itch, itself, occurs because of a histamine response in the body after consumption. A 2012 study observed a histamine-independent neural pathway when beta-alanine was administered. While the beta-alanine itch is still currently a phenomenon, research suggests that its administration “excites” the histamine system, getting the consumer’s nerve endings excited. The itching is rather benign, however, and beta-alanine’s benefits vastly outweigh this minor side effect.
Popular Beta-Alanine Supplement
If you’re considering adding beta-alanine to your supplement lineup, you should know which supplements pair well with the amino acid.
As stated above, creatine is the best beta-alanine companion. Creatine saturates the consumer’s phosphocreatine stores, improving post-workout recovery as well as intra-workout intensity. Aside from raising carnosine levels, beta-alanine also buffers hydrogen ions—letting the body utilize its phosphocreatine stores more effectively.
Taurine, too, is an excellent partner to beta-alanine. Taurine is a highly effective antioxidant, and it can detoxify the body by protecting essential fatty acids in cell walls while neutralizing free radicals. It plays an important part in human growth, and it’s normally consumed for brain and eye health. Fortunately, taurine won’t reduce beta-alanine’s absorption. In fact, the pairing is synergistic—making taurine itself a popular component of beta-alanine-containing supplements.
As a provider, it’d be a good idea to include pre-workout, intra-workout and post-workout powders which contain beta-alanine, creatine and taurine together. Some BCAA blends may contain this mash-up, too, yet creatine might not be as effective within a BCAA drink.
The Beta-Alanine Supplement Market Share
The beta-alanine supplement market is booming. It sat at 58 million USD back in 2015, and it’s expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.65 percent before 2020. Currently, Japan and China lead the global beta-alanine market, maintaining about 71.06 percent of the globe’s production market share.
New development plans and policies have been kind to beta-alanine, and many manufacturers are including the nutrient in a variety of sports drinks geared at fitness-lovers wanting to reduce overall fatigue levels. Because beta-alanine is easily mixed, pairs well with creating—another incredibly popular supplement staple—and is relatively easy to produce, it’s only gaining steam as one of the supplement world’s greatest trends.
The competitive supplement landscape, where beta-alanine is considered, is generally welcoming to new entrants, too. Because beta-alanine is widely used, it’s a good cornerstone of any brand wanting to include it while maintaining flexible production costs. If you haven’t yet, you should include beta-alanine in your lineup. As a great inclusion to most intra-workouts—and as a solid standalone powder—beta-alanine is a must-sell amino acid.