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The Beta Alanine Thread

Old 12-29-22, 12:44 PM
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cyclezen
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The Beta Alanine Thread

I've not been a user. But always willing to consider anything which might help the/my human machine.
There are bunches of reference for Beta Alanine in the interweb, and it often comes up within other threads, here on BF, and other anecdotal discussions.
I have done a bunch of reading on it, and as usual, there's a slew of info, often contrary to other info. So I'm not sure where and how to start...
In the case of Beta Alanine, I think anecdotal info is a valid consideration, for us riders, at least in consideration and our personal application.
I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on their personal usage and findings for Beta Alanine use,. As well as any published articles which have some basis in 'science done' .
I think a Thread with a focus on Bela Alanine, is warrented, given it comes up often in reference to other supplementation/protocols...
So, please do give us your 'take' on Beta Alanine... (fully expecting that there will be some 'opinion' based on no use, or science reference, or any reality - this IS BF, after all... LOL!)
Thx
Yuri
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Old 12-29-22, 04:02 PM
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I know nothing about beta alanine, other than that it's a non-essential amino acid, meaning our bodies synthesize it, which makes it sound pretty safe.

As far as the literature goes, this is not a high quality research area, due to sparse government funding and the fact that the FDA does not oversee supplement trials. As a result, supplement trials tend to be unsophisticated compared to drug trials and statistically underpowered (small samples), making positive results more likely to be random events. It also means investigators are not required to register trials in advance, making it easy to "desk drawer" negative results. All that said, rigorously performed meta-analyses are your best bet and a quick look at Pubmed found one one the first page. Bottom line was, it worked.
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Old 01-02-23, 11:25 AM
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Anecdotally, no objective nor subjective benefits for me. I followed the leading loading-phase protocols to a t, and cycled off after 12 weeks. Cycled back on after 10 weeks. After a year and a half, I can honestly say it provided little to no personal benefit. My training consists of 12-18hrs a week of structured riding, + gym routines in the off-season. Creatine, protein, proper sleep hygiene- now we're talking gains.
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Old 01-02-23, 11:36 PM
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I've used beta alanine and a few other supplements on and off for a few years. Can't say I notice any difference. After this batch runs out I probably won't buy it again.

Stuff that actually does seem to work for me, in terms of the exercise I prefer (cycling, running 3-10 miles a few times a week):
Good diet
  • Plenty of rest
  • Caffeine
  • Whey protein with amino acids (including beta alanine) and creatine. Just more convenient than taking a bunch of separate supplements. Nothing expensive, whey is a byproduct and shouldn't cost much. I buy whatever's on sale.
  • DHEA (inexpensive, easy to determine within a day or three whether there's any effect)
  • Beta ecdysterone (although supply, quality and price are erratic, and I haven't purchased any for a few months)

Stuff that had no consistent effect, or any apparent effect at all:
Pretty much everything you can name. I've tried almost everything at least once. Most recently HMB. Had high hopes but after two courses from different sources I can't say I noticed anything.

It's possible my diet alone provides enough of the essential nutrients supplied by some supplements anyway. After trying a year on a vegetarian diet in 2018 I've been back on meat and animal proteins and feel much better. I probably don't get much benefit from supplemental creatine since it's already in red meat. If I lifted weights I might benefit from extra creatine. But I do only body weight exercises, mostly multiple reps rather than single effort power lifts. I *think* creatine seems to help on short duration max efforts, such as short hill climbs or sprints, stuff that's over with in 30-60 seconds. But at my age I'm seeing diminishing returns every few months. Gains are extremely unlikely without serious PEDs.

Oh, and gabapentin and alpha lipoic acid, recommended by several folks for chronic nerve pain related to cervical spine stenosis. My condition is way beyond the dubious effects of expensive placebos. At a minimum it takes ibuprofen, although I can't take it very often. At this point the only thing that will help is surgery, or a subdural injection of anti-inflammatory or other agent to basically numb the pain nerves.
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Old 01-03-23, 10:44 AM
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Not that it matters for most cyclists other than potential impact to health, DHEA is on WADAs banned substance list. Below is from Globaldro.com


DHEA 25mg Tablet

Status According to the WADA Prohibited List


In Competition
Prohibited
Out of Competition
Prohibited

WADA Classification(s)


Anabolic Agents (S1)

Status of this brand's individual active ingredients


Prasterone View details
Other Names: 3beta-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one; 3b-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one; Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
In Competition
Prohibited
Out of Competition
Prohibited
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Old 01-03-23, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Not that it matters for most cyclists other than potential impact to health, DHEA is on WADAs banned substance list. Below is from Globaldro.com


DHEA 25mg Tablet

Status According to the WADA Prohibited List


In Competition
Prohibited
Out of Competition
Prohibited

WADA Classification(s)


Anabolic Agents (S1)

Status of this brand's individual active ingredients


Prasterone View details
Other Names: 3beta-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one; 3b-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one; Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
In Competition
Prohibited
Out of Competition
Prohibited
Off the thread topic, but interesting anyway . . .
Certainly banned. I don't see any documented performance reasons for banning, unlike caffeine (not banned). Seems like it can improve one's mental state though.

Here are a couple of decent studies of the over-50 set:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9876338/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7515387/
and one about performance:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20122454/

Also: https://examine.com/supplements/dhea/#examine-database
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Old 01-03-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by markynels
Anecdotally, no objective nor subjective benefits for me. I followed the leading loading-phase protocols to a t, and cycled off after 12 weeks. Cycled back on after 10 weeks. After a year and a half, I can honestly say it provided little to no personal benefit. My training consists of 12-18hrs a week of structured riding, + gym routines in the off-season. Creatine, protein, proper sleep hygiene- now we're talking gains.
Also for cycling? Not just gym?
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Old 01-03-23, 11:18 PM
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Carbonfiberboy DHEA was mentioned by one of the posters in this thread that it has worked for him which I assume improved performance. He has mentioned DHEA in other threads as well. IMO, my post is on point that WADA has determined that DHEA improves performance and has banned it. I am not judging anyone that takes it only pointing out that it is banned. If one is a competitive cyclist and gets tested, and DHEA is found, there will be enforcement action.

Beta Alanine is not on WADA’s list.

You will note that I did not quote your post or mention the other party’s name in the event that you or he may want to edit your post.

I am not interested in your assessment of DHEA or the studies quoted. Who cares. DHEA is on the WADA list and as a licensed rider, I must comply. It is fruitless to second guess the WADA doctors and labs that do their studies that determine which substances are banned and many times substances are banned not just do to performance but due to potential adverse effects to athletes’ health.

And to an extent that I posted but yet another post about DHEA, it is now bordering on off topic disruption which was not my intent but since you decided to quote my post and point out that WADA is wrong, I felt it required response.
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Old 01-04-23, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Also for cycling? Not just gym?

Creatine, 5mg daily, even on recovery days. Many recent studies suggest there are extended benefits well beyond physical strength, such as for eg., mental clarity. Continued use is important to maintain muscle saturation. The added water weight is negligible in contrast to the physical gains exhibited (and water aids recovery). If I were to have access to only one supplement, it would be creatine.


As for protein, I practice a very clean diet and attempt to get within 80-90% of my daily reqs at approx. 1.2-2g/kg through natural sources, and fill the remainder with organic whey sources of either isolate or concentrate. This is maintained on off days but with lesser pedantry than creatine. The upside of the supplemental form are the BCAA's like Leucine. I was big on casein but there are many recent studies suggesting whey is as effective, and timing is less concerning than was once thought.


Going back to Beta-alanine, it's one of those supplements you get a direct sense of it's manifestation through its tingling effects, but I could personally not get it to translate into anything positive or recognizable beyond that. Also worth noting I AB test every supplement over a course of roughly 2 years, and corroborate these effects against all relevant cycling metrics, including wearing a Whoop.
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Old 01-04-23, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by markynels
Creatine, 5mg daily, even on recovery days. Many recent studies suggest there are extended benefits well beyond physical strength, such as for eg., mental clarity. Continued use is important to maintain muscle saturation. The added water weight is negligible in contrast to the physical gains exhibited (and water aids recovery). If I were to have access to only one supplement, it would be creatine.


As for protein, I practice a very clean diet and attempt to get within 80-90% of my daily reqs at approx. 1.2-2g/kg through natural sources, and fill the remainder with organic whey sources of either isolate or concentrate. This is maintained on off days but with lesser pedantry than creatine. The upside of the supplemental form are the BCAA's like Leucine. I was big on casein but there are many recent studies suggesting whey is as effective, and timing is less concerning than was once thought.


Going back to Beta-alanine, it's one of those supplements you get a direct sense of it's manifestation through its tingling effects, but I could personally not get it to translate into anything positive or recognizable beyond that. Also worth noting I AB test every supplement over a course of roughly 2 years, and corroborate these effects against all relevant cycling metrics, including wearing a Whoop.
Very interesting.

How did you start creatine, where does the daily 5mg come from, is it something you worked out for yourself or comes of a guide/forumla?

That is a lot of protein, 100% for me at an average of 1.5g/kg would be around 100g a day. I highly doubt I get that much protein. Do you feel a difference to days where you don't eat this much? Or to a time when you didn't stick to this regimen?
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Old 01-04-23, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Very interesting.


How did you start creatine, where does the daily 5mg come from, is it something you worked out for yourself or comes of a guide/forumla?


That is a lot of protein, 100% for me at an average of 1.5g/kg would be around 100g a day. I highly doubt I get that much protein. Do you feel a difference to days where you don't eat this much? Or to a time when you didn't stick to this regimen?

I started creatine to optimize strength gains during the off season with the intent of cycling off before my A race. I continued its use throughout the following season after witnessing negligible water weight loss, but a notable decrease in maximal power, specifically <1 minute efforts. Some interesting discussion on this can be found here. There is something to be said for dosages >5mg that specifically seem to target cognitive improvements, but the general rule of thumb observed with regards to strength and endurance, is that 5mg is the cliff; anything above seems to do very little at the risk of promoting gut discomfort. Some research on this here. As someone who's dabbled with the bro-science "30mg loading phases", I can attest to the discomfort. High torque activities on the bike coupled with proper creatine supplementation appear at least for me, to yield the best results for rapid strength gains at that 1min peak power (eg, 1 hour sessions 3 times a week for 4 weeks of strict on-bike torque efforts at just below threshold (so sweetspot essentially) increaed my 1min peak power by 125w (625 > 750). Some interesting reading on torque, albeit largely contentious to some. Edit: To those thinking this kind of power increase can be translated across the spectrum, it cannot. This had non-negligible increase to my ftp (~25w), but not nearly as impactful. There are certainly greater anaerobic systems at play than aerobic.
Edit2: well timed pod from TR on Creatine;



Some relevant and recent research on protein supplementation can be found here. I do feel a difference if I under consume chronically. This is more noticeable if it's during a period of high volume and/or intensity. Acute differences are negligible day to day. The main thing with any supplementation, inclusive of macros like protein, and even sleep, is consistency.


Apologies to OP for getting off track.

Last edited by markynels; 01-05-23 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 01-04-23, 08:43 PM
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I haven't noticed any tingling from beta alanine. I do from niacin. I suspect the main reason niacin is included in some energy drinks is specifically for the tingling, slight burning sensation on the skin. It makes the energy drink feel like it's "doing something." But I suspect it's mostly placebo.

Regarding DHEA, yeah, I wouldn't take it if I was competing in any sanctioned event. I started using it after a bout with COVID in late 2021 wiped me out for months, zapping my energy. I was willing to try almost anything to get back enough energy to begin exercising again. I'm months or longer away from regaining my pre-COVID fitness, so I don't see myself entering any competitions, well... probably ever. At 65 it's not a priority for me now. Finishing a marathon before the midnight cutoff would be a realistic goal for me in 2023. I ran a solo half marathon Saturday, Dec 31, the last day of 2022. Three hours. I'm no threat even to my age group.

Beta ecdysterone reportedly has some demonstrated efficacy. It's being considered as a regulated or banned substance, but it hasn't really caught on yet among many athletes, so the regulating organizations may not yet consider it significant enough. Perhaps after the active ingredient is isolated and synthesized. For now the main source is the cyanotis arachnoidea root and similar plants. It's expensive for what you get, varies tremendously from batch to batch, tastes atrocious (very bitter, tastes vaguely like galangal root or the world's worst curry powder), so it's unlikely to catch on until it's synthesized and cheaper.
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Old 01-05-23, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by markynels
I started creatine to optimize strength gains during the off season with the intent of cycling off before my A race. I continued its use throughout the following season after witnessing negligible water weight loss, but a notable decrease in maximal power, specifically <1 minute efforts. Some interesting discussion on this can be found here. There is something to be said for dosages >5mg that specifically seem to target cognitive improvements, but the general rule of thumb observed with regards to strength and endurance, is that 5mg is the cliff; anything above seems to do very little at the risk of promoting gut discomfort. Some research on this here. As someone who's dabbled with the bro-science "30mg loading phases", I can attest to the discomfort. High torque activities on the bike coupled with proper creatine supplementation appear at least for me, to yield the best results for rapid strength gains at that 1min peak power (eg, 1 hour sessions 3 times a week for 4 weeks of strict on-bike torque efforts at just below threshold (so sweetspot essentially) increaed my 1min peak power by 125w (625 > 750). Some interesting reading on torque, albeit largely contentious to some. Edit: To those thinking this kind of power increase can be translated across the spectrum, it cannot. This had non-negligible increase to my ftp (~25w), but not nearly as impactful. There are certainly greater anaerobic systems at play than aerobic.
Edit2: well timed pod from TR on Creatine;

https://youtu.be/-ns2roCnumY


Some relevant and recent research on protein supplementation can be found here. I do feel a difference if I under consume chronically. This is more noticeable if it's during a period of high volume and/or intensity. Acute differences are negligible day to day. The main thing with any supplementation, inclusive of macros like protein, and even sleep, is consistency.


Apologies to OP for getting off track.
Thanks for the detailed insights!
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Old 01-11-23, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
I know nothing about beta alanine, other than that it's a non-essential amino acid, meaning our bodies synthesize it, which makes it sound pretty safe.

As far as the literature goes, this is not a high quality research area, due to sparse government funding and the fact that the FDA does not oversee supplement trials. As a result, supplement trials tend to be unsophisticated compared to drug trials and statistically underpowered (small samples), making positive results more likely to be random events. It also means investigators are not required to register trials in advance, making it easy to "desk drawer" negative results. All that said, rigorously performed meta-analyses are your best bet and a quick look at Pubmed found one one the first page. Bottom line was, it worked.
Too bad you didn't feel comfortable giving a link. A 2008 study of geezers showed up on my screen today:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18992136/

I've been taking a single dose of 2g daily for many years. I haven't done a scientific trial on myself, so I can't say if there's been a quantifiable benefit, but it looks like there should be, especially for older riders and particularly older vegetarian riders. It does seem that I haven't gotten as much slower as I should have over the decades.

2g did make me tingly for the first few months but not anymore. I buy the powder from Bulksupplements. I never use any of those branded compound supplements, only single ingredient stuff.
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Old 01-12-23, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Too bad you didn't feel comfortable giving a link. A 2008 study of geezers showed up on my screen today:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18992136/

I've been taking a single dose of 2g daily for many years. I haven't done a scientific trial on myself, so I can't say if there's been a quantifiable benefit, but it looks like there should be, especially for older riders and particularly older vegetarian riders. It does seem that I haven't gotten as much slower as I should have over the decades.

2g did make me tingly for the first few months but not anymore. I buy the powder from Bulksupplements. I never use any of those branded compound supplements, only single ingredient stuff.
Not uncomfortable, just lazy.
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