You may have encountered beta-alanine as a popular supplement among fitness enthusiasts and athletes but don’t know what it actually does. Beta-alanine is known to enhance performance and benefit overall health, so it is popular among athletes. Through this guide, you will know more about beta-alanine and how it works.

What is beta-alanine?

Beta-alanine occurs naturally in your body as a non-essential amino acid. But unlike the many other amino acids in your body, it is not used to synthesize proteins. Together with histidine, beta-alanine plays the role of producing carnosine stored in your skeletal muscles.

During training and exercise, carnosine plays a crucial role in reducing lactic acid accumulation in your muscles, improving athletic performance. Therefore beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid used to produce carnosine that boosts athletic performance.

How it works

Typically, there are more histidine levels in your muscles than beta-alanine, which limits the overall production of carnosine. That is why athletes use beta-alanine supplements, as it has been proven to boost muscle carnosine levels by 80%. Here is a detailed process of how carnosine works when training.

  • When you exercise, glycolysis occurs, which refers to the breakdown of glucose, the primary source of your energy during high-intensity athletic performance.
  • After exercising for some time, your body breaks down the glucose into lactic acid, which converts into lactate producing hydrogen ions (H+).
  • With that, your muscles get more acidic because the hydrogen ions minimize the PH levels in your muscles.
  • As a result, fatigue sets in. the increasing acidity in your muscles inhibits the breakdown of glucose, reducing the ability of your muscles to contract hence fatigue. This is where carnosine comes in.
  • Carnosine minimizes the acidity in the muscles when exercising, improving your performance.

Because beta-alanine supplements increase your carnosine levels, that reduces the acidity in your muscles during high-intensity exercises reducing your overall fatigue. It also improves performance by increasing time to exhaustion in high-intensity workouts.

According to a study in cyclists, four weeks of supplementing with beta-alanine improved the total work performed by 13% and an additional 3.2% after 10weeks of taking the supplements. Additionally, 20men increased their time to exhaustion by 13% after taking beta-alanine supplements for four weeks. In simple words, beta-alanine supplements can help you exercise for more prolonged periods.

Other health benefits

Other than boosting performance, high carnosine levels have many other health benefits. Some animal studies have shown that carnosine has immune-enhancing, anti-oxidant, and anti-aging properties. It neutralizes free radicals and minimizes oxidative stress that may accelerate aging.

Further studies indicate that high carnosine levels can also increase nitric oxide production, improving heart health and slowing down the aging process. Finally, carnosine can boost the function and quality of muscles in older adults.


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid found in the body and syntheses carnosine together with histidine. High carnosine levels reduce your muscle acidity during a high-intensity performance, lessening your overall fatigue.Therefore, beta-alanine supplementation helps your body produce more carnosine which can boost your athletic performance.

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