Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

Carnosine and beta-Alanine Updated

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We updated our article, Carnosine and beta-Alanine, to include the research since our previous update.

A summary of the changes:

  • In the American College of Sports Medicine, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Dietitians of Canada’s 2016 Joint Position Statement on nutrition and athletic performance, beta-alanine was included in the list of supplements with evidence-based uses in sports nutrition (Thomas, 2016). They cite a 2014 systematic review of randomized controlled trials looking at carnosine’s impact on performance (Quesnele, 2014).
  • A 6-month intervention study had 40 meat-eating women follow one of three diets: a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet without supplementation, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet plus daily beta-alanine and creatine supplement, and a continued omnivorous diet as a control (Blancquaert, 2018). The vegetarian plus beta-alanine group experienced a significant increase in muscular carnosine at the end of the study. At 3 months, muscle carnosine content didn’t change in the vegetarian group that didn’t take beta-alanine or in the control group suggesting that a vegetarian diet doesn’t result in decreased carnosine in the body (muscle carnosine wasn’t measured at 6 months in these groups).

Longer, high-quality studies are needed to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of beta-alanine supplements.

We don’t know of any studies on beta-alanine supplementation or carnosine levels in vegans.

For those wishing to take them, there are numerous vegan beta-alanine supplements.

References

Blancquaert, 2018. Blancquaert L, Baguet A, Bex T, Volkaert A, Everaert I, Delanghe J, Petrovic M, Vervaet C, De Henauw S, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Greenhaff P, Derave W. Changing to a vegetarian diet reduces the body creatine pool in omnivorous women, but appears not to affect carnitine and carnosine homeostasis: a randomised trial. Br J Nutr. 2018 Apr;119(7):759-770.

Quesnele, 2014. Quesnele JJ, Laframboise MA, Wong JJ, Kim P, Wells GD. The effects of beta-alanine supplementation on performance: a systematic review of the literature. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014 Feb;24(1):14-27.

Thomas, 2016. Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Mar;48(3):543-68.

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  • If you have a question about whether it's okay to cut supplements in half or combine supplements to achieve the dose we recommend, the answer is “Yes.” Be aware that nutrient recommendations are only estimates—it's not necessary to consume the exact amount we recommend every single day.
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