Muscles on fire
Have you ever experienced unbearable lactic acidosis in your muscles during workout? You surely have, if you have ever tried high-rep workout.
I remember the time when one of my insane goals was to do 100 reps on a leg-press machine with 200 kgs. (I can recommend it to you if you wish to challenge your will power; it is not an unattainable goal, but it takes a lot of work and it can wreck your nerves in the long run). Well, that time I learned what acidosis was for sure. Imagine that. When your thighs start to burn after 30 reps. And when you are dying at 50 – and you are still halfway only! I don’t think it needs more explanation why I started to do some research that time, on supplements that prevent lactic acidosis.
Those goddamn hydrogen ions
The pH values of the muscles drop during workout. The lower the pH, the more acidic a given environment gets. Acidity is measured by pH. Its values range between 1 and 14. 1 is the most acidic, while 14 is the most basic environment. 7 stands for neutral pH. For example, the pH of stomach acid is between 1.5 and 2. The pH of commercially available basic waters is between 8 and 9.
This means, low pH in the muscles is a sign of lactic acidosis. This condition develops when, as one of the by-products of the fuel for the muscles, hydrogen ions are released. And these ions reduce pH. In other words, they increase acidity.
Intense muscle work –> more energy required –> more fuel by-products (hydrogen ions) –> heightening acidosis. And you will experience this as a burning sense that is getting more and more unbearable.
The role of carnosine
Fortunately, there is a substance which works as a buffering agent in the muscles. It’s called carnosine. This means: carnosine can reduce the acidity of the muscles. If you can increase the carnosine levels in your muscles, you are increasing the buffering capacity of the muscles, which means, you are making your muscles more resistant to acidosis.
Carnosine has a by-product which you can easily ingest from supplements. It is called beta-alanine. But how could a by-product help increase the amount of a substance from which it is derived?
Well, beta-alanine can revert to carnosine, provided that it is ingested together with histidine. Doing so, you can make a by-product a precursor again. A precursor is a substance which is required for forming another substance. In this case, beta-alanine is a precursor of carnosine, as it is required for carnosine synthesis. The more beta-alanine you consume, the more carnosine you can produce. Research has shown that the carnosine levels in the muscles can be increased by more than 60 % this way. As a result, the buffering capacity of the muscles (that is, their capacity to prevent acidosis) might even be increased by 20 %.
This means, you can reduce acidosis by 20 %. And even 1 % can be of a great help during a really brutal workout. If you have ever felt really brutal acidosis, I think you know what I am talking about.
Enhance the effect
Research has shown that beta-alanine is even more potent when ingested together with creatine. These two substances are enhancing each other’s effects synergically. This means, you are better off with taking them together than separately.
When does it kick in?
It depends: What do you mean? When the stuff is “kicking in”, you will feel it, since it makes your skin tickle in a unique way. However, you can only benefit from the anti-acidosis properties of beta-alanine after several weeks of usage. Still I can say that you can feel it better and better from one workout to the next. Despite the fact that it takes weeks for the maximum effect to develop, you can feel the difference the first time already.
We recommend that you use beta-alanine on a daily basis if you want to bring the maximum out of it; but you should inevitably take it before workout! This time you can achieve even better results if you take it with creatine. And if you top it up with a NO-booster with a vasodilator effect, you can make sure as much active ingredients reach their destination (your muscles) as possible. The best solution for this purpose is a compound product. Many manufacturers sell preworkout supplements that contain beta-alanine, creatine and vasodilators. It’s not a secret: lately we recommend Pow3rd, because both our own experience and customer reviews have confirmed that this is an excellent product for this purpose. Plus, it tastes alright (although it’s a matter of taste). Of course, daily supplementation (one of the most important prerequisites of maximum effect) requires that you ensure a constant flow of beta-alanine with a pure beta-alanine and histidine supplement , as Pow3rd is only suitable for pre-workout usage.
Remember: there are means to prevent lactic acidosis! If acidosis is a common problem for you because of your workout routine (and we do not mean weight training only), it’s time to do something about it! You have the devices!
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