Beta-alanine is a modified version of the amino acid alanine and is the building block of carnosine, a molecule that acts as a buffering agent in muscles. It is combined with L-histidine in skeletal muscle cells to form the dipeptide of Beta-alanyl L-histidine, more commonly known as carnosine. Together this provides a buffering effect which reduces the acidity of the muscle and therefore helping to maintain performance and reduce fatigue*.
This is of particular reference for high-intensity exercise performance due to the nature of the muscles acidity. In particular, Beta-alanine has been shown to enhance muscular endurance as well as improve moderate to high intensity exercise performance such as sprinting or weightlifting.
Standard daily doses of beta-alanine are between 2,000 and 5,000mg. Beta-alanine supplementation is not timing-dependent, in relation to exercise. Using beta-alanine as part of a pre-workout stack is a popular option. However, large doses of beta-alanine may result in a tingling feeling called paresthesia. It is a harmless side effect, but can be avoided by using a time-release formulation or taking smaller doses, between 800-1000mg, several times a day.