There are a handful of ways carnosine is thought to impact performance but its most studied function, and the focus of this article, is its role as an intracellular buffer. Carnosine helps stabilize muscular pH by soaking up hydrogen ions (H+) that are released at an accelerated rate during exercise.
Our bodies work to keep our pH in balance by utilizing various buffering systems. Buffers largely work by soaking up H+ to maintain optimal pH balance, which we need to function most effectively. As mentioned above, our muscles function best in a specific pH range. When pH drops below that range, so does muscular performance. By helping to keep us in a more optimal pH range, our muscles can continue to contract forcibly for a longer time.
There are a handful of buffering systems that work in our bodies. Some maintain pH in extra cellular fluids (ECF) outside of the cell, while others perform their duties in intracellular fluids (ICF) inside the cell and some perform in both. The first line of defense in absorbing the H+ is going to be the cell from intracellular buffers such as carnosine, not from extra cellular buffers. Aside from carnosine being just where we need it, buffering H+ inside our cells, it has additional, unique attributes that make it really shine. Carnosine is unique; in that, other natural buffering systems our bodies use are also used in many other cellular reactions aside from buffering, watering down much of their buffering abilities. However, what makes carnosine really exciting, is that by supplementing with extra beta-alanine, we can specifically and dramatically increase carnosine levels.
Supplementing with beta-alanine for just 4 weeks, can increase carnosine concentration by 42-65%. Longer beta-alanine studies going up to 10-12 weeks, show carnosine concentrations increased up to 80%. This is a tremendous increase in an already powerful intracellular buffer. It is this large increase in buffering capacity within our muscles that is largely responsible for the strength, lean body mass, power and muscular endurance gains that researchers are seeing from beta-alanine studies.
Research has shown that you can take an amount between 3.2 grams and 6.4 grams per day to significantly boost carnosine levels and improve performance or as directed by your physician. Mix for 20-30 seconds using a shaker cup or mix thoroughly with a spoon. May not mix very easily. May be hygroscopic and may clump during shipment. This does not affect the efficacy of the product; just the texture. Try mixing in sport drink or anything with a ph less than water to improve mixability. It may be necessary to let it sit for awhile.
Any Side Effects?
Beta alanine is a very safe supplement but does have some possible side effects such as a mild tingling sensations and skin flushing. These side effects are typically felt in the extremities such as the arms, hands and feet. These side effects of beta alanine are for the most part temporary and tend to diminish the longer you take the supplement. If you continue to experience these side effects you should experiment with lowering the dosage.
As with any supplement it is important to understand the possible benefits and risks, and it is for this reason you should always consult your doctor prior to starting. For the majority of users beta alanine will be a real benefit to their workouts and will give them little to no problems.
Shelf Life: This product will retain a 2 year shelf life from the date of manufacturer if properly sealed and stored in a dry, cool environment outside of direct sunlight.
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