Beta-Alanine and BCAAs are two of the most common and commended performance-based supplements in the game. Both are classified as amino acids yet serve a very different purpose when it comes to helping you reach your health and fitness goals. We’re going to talk about the key differences between beta-alanine and BCAAs, so you can decide which one is right for you.
What Are BCAAs and What Do They Do?
BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids are composed of three essential amino acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine which are considered to be the building blocks of protein. The human body cannot manufacture essential amino acids, therefore, they must be obtained from dietary sources or from supplementation. BCAAs help increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis (the rate at which you build muscle) and prevent muscle mass breakdown.
The human body utilizes BCAAs for fuel during your workout when it depletes glycogen stores. When you run low on stored sources of BCAAs your body cannot adequately repair itself. When you’re training at a high-intensity and you’ve burned through those BCAA stores, your body starts to be catabolic or starts to break down muscle mass for fuel instead. By supplementing with BCAAs you ensure your body is in a positive balance, to help promote muscle growth, repair, and reduce muscle soreness after your workout.
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Benefits Of BCAAs
- Improved Muscle Recovery
- Reduced Muscle Mass Breakdown
- Rebuilding Lean Muscle Mass
- Reduced Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness
- Delays Muscle Fatigue
- Increase Energy Levels
- Improve Endurance
- Improves Body Composition
What Is Beta-Alanine And What Does It Do?
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid and is naturally produced by the body and can be found in food such as chicken, meat and fish. Unlike the other 20 non-essential amino acids, beta-amino acids have their amino group bonded to the β carbon rather than the α carbon.
When you work out, your body relies on glucose for energy, which results in the production of lactic acid increasing muscle acidity. Lactic acid is created from the buildup of hydrogen ions (H+), which causes your muscles pH to drop, therefore when lactic acid rises, it linearly increases the acidity in your muscle tissue. When acidity increases your muscles lose the ability to contract and results in a loss of endurance and power. Beta-alanine, specifically the patented ingredient CarnoSyn® buffers hydrogen through an increase in carnosine content, which will help your muscles contract for a longer period of time and delay the onset of fatigue.
Carnosine is a di-peptide/beta-amino acid composed of the amino acids, beta-alanine, and l-histidine. Studies have shown elevated muscle carnosine levels can fuel endurance, optimize recovery, build muscle strength, and enhance peak performance [R].
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Benefits Of Beta-Alanine
- Improving endurance
- Delaying muscle fatigue
- Increasing strength
- Optimizing recovery from intense exercise
What’s The Difference Between Beta-Alanine Vs BCAAs?
The biggest difference between beta-alanine and BCAAs are the exact mechanisms of how they work and affect your workout performance. BCAAs help build and rebuild muscle mass by facilitating the process of protein synthesis. Beta-Alanine works by buffering the build-up of lactic acid, delaying muscle fatigue, resulting in an increase in time to exhaustion. The most notable difference is that Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, while BCAAs are essential meaning you must obtain them through food or supplementation.
Both Beta-alanine and BCAAs improve muscular endurance and workout volume, but what’s interesting is the difference in how they improve endurance. Beta-alanine buffers the buildup of lactic acid, while BCAAs cross the blood-brain barrier changing 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) levels or what’s better known as serotonin. Several factors are known to cause fatigue during intense bouts of exercise. Changes in the brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) level is one mechanism that has been suggested as a potential factor to cause fatigue. During exercise, tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it is then converted to 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT).
Higher serotonin levels during exercise signals the brain that your body is fatigued, which translates into less muscular endurance and strength.
Transport of 5-HT is influenced by the available amount of tryptophan and other available amino acids including BCAAs, which are transported along the same carrier pathway. While BCAAs and tryptophan compete to get across the blood-brain barrier, BCAAs typically win the battle every time. That means that by supplementing with BCAAs before or during your workout, less tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier, which means tryptophan gets converted into serotonin, resulting in greater muscular endurance and less fatigue [R].
Should You Take Beta-Alanine Or BCAAs?
Since changes in 5-HT is only one mechanism of muscle fatigue, pairing BCAAs with Beta-Alanine CarnoSyn, can help dramatically improve endurance and fight muscle fatigue, since beta-alanine buffers lactic acid threshold. Together, beta-alanine and BCAAs inhibit the production of muscle fatigue, through differing mechanisms, thus maximizing overall athletic performance. Therefore, don’t take just one or the other, take both.
Beta-Alanine Vs BCAAs: Takeaway
With so many different supplements, new formulas, and brands, figuring out exactly what supplements you need to help you reach your goals, can be overwhelming. BCAAs and Beta-Alanine are two of the most proven and commended sports supplements, supported with an ever-growing body of evidence in regard to their performance benefits. It’s easy to give into hype marketing, with new and improved formulas, but the way to improve performance is by using supplements that have been proven time and time again. When you’re ready to pull the trigger and make a purchase, make sure your BCAA is dosed in a 2:1:1 ratio, and that your Beta-alanine is made with the patented and proven ingredient Carnosyn.
Looking For The Best Supplements To Improve Your Performance Endurance?
When you supplement with ingredients like Carnosyn Beta-Alanine, Kre-Alkalyn, Electrolytes, BCAA’s, and CoQ10, you are not only optimizing your athletic performance but your human potential. This potent stack of products, in conjunction with your training, increases V02 Max, buffers lactic acid, keeps bodily pH low (acidosis), accelerates aerobic power and anaerobic threshold, delays fatigue, and even improves exercise performance recovery. You’re ready to demand more from your training, so demand more from your performance products. Get the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle, with the Endurance Stack from Swolverine.
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We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.