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.
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.