Supplement Spotlight: Beta-Alanine, A “Tingle” Tailor-Made for The Open

January 28, 2021 by
Credit: Photo by Anshu A

Beta-Alanine is a supplement many of us are familiar with. Not necessarily because of what it does (we will get to that) but because of that fun tingly sensation we get when we take it. This is called paresthesia and it is especially fun when you forget you’ve taken something containing beta alanine and instead think you are having some sort of weird allergic reaction to the shrimp pad Thai you ate for lunch.

Ok, so what is beta-alanine and why should you care? The list of supplements that are worth taking (in my humble opinion) is quite short. Beta-alanine is one of them.

Intramuscular acidosis, a fancy term for that burning feeling you get during a high intensity effort, is one of the main causes of fatigue in exercise and leads to a steady increase in RPE (rate of perceived exertion) during any given effort. No, the muscle burning is not caused by lactic acid, it is caused by accumulating hydrogen ions that are released during the breakdown of ATP. The more H+ we have bouncing around, the more acidic the environment surrounding our muscles becomes. Ouchie.

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