Onnit T+ Ingredient Beta Alanine
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Onnit T+ Ingredient Beta Alanine

Onnit T+ Ingredient Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine

Onnit's T-Plus has added beta-alanine to it formulation to inhibit muscle fatigue by maintaining normal pH levels.  Experiments tell us that beta-alanine supports increased muscle mass, endurance, strength and a delay in muscle fatigue.  All of these factors allow for longer and harder workouts.  No matter what your sport is and whether you simply want to make it to the finish or compete in the Olympics, more than likely you're looking to enhance your performance with some type of nutritional supplements.  Everyone can benefit from adding beta-alanine to their regime.

Beta-alanine is made in your body by the liver from the breakdown of uracil and thymine.  It is a nonessential and non-proteinogenic amino acid.  Non-proteinogenic means it's not incorporated into the making of protein.  Even though we have the ability to make this amino acid most of it comes from our diet and particularly from fish, beef, pork and poultry.    Beta alanine's ability to enhance performance comes from the fact that is increases carnosine levels in skeletal muscle.  Carnosine is a dipeptide that is made up of beta-alanine and L-histidine.  If there is very little or no beta-alanine available, you can't make carnosine.  So, beta-alanine is the rate limiting step in the production of carnosine.

Why is carnosine so important to skeletal muscle?  Because it is used as an intramuscular buffer of hydrogen ions.  When you exercise hard, you rely on glycolysis and phosphagen systems to make ATP.  These systems create a build up of hydrogen ions which brings you into acidosis which brings about fatigue and a decrease in your ability to contract muscle.  If you can reduce the amount of acidosis during exercise, this will increase your performance.  It is well known that bodybuilders and runners have higher concentrations of carnosine than those who don't exercise. 

Acidosis and Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue and acidosis are interconnected.  When you're exercising, skeletal muscle builds up hydrogen ions which in turn causes the pH of your muscle to drop (become more acidic).  If you continue to exercise beyond a certain point, your ATP stores that were generated during aerobic respiration in the mitochondria dwindle.  At this point, your metabolism switches over to anaerobic metabolism (respiration).   Anaerobic respiration is very inefficient in that it involves the incomplete breakdown of glucose.  This occurs in the cytoplasmic space outside the mitochondria. 

Consider that during aerobic respiration in the mitochondria you make 36 ATP from the complete breakdown of 1 glucose molecule and the byproduct of these reactions is simply water.  This is an excellent byproduct because its so clean.  On the other hand, anaerobic respiration is an incomplete breakdown of glucose that produces 2 ATP and a nasty byproduct known as lactic acid.  At normal muscle pH, lactic acid will release hydrogen ions that begin to accumulate and continue to accumulate the more you exercise.  The end product of this is that fatigue sets in and it becomes increasing more difficult to contract muscle. 

When enough lactic acid builds up, it will exit muscle tissue and enter the blood stream where it will be buffered with the bicarbonate-carbonic acid buffering system and filtered out by the kidney.  Until lactic acid and hydrogen ion levels drop, you'll have to take a break and allow for recovery.  This interferes with being able to bulk up muscle mass because you can't push to the limit of what your muscle can do.  But, there is a way around this issue simply by supplementing with beta-alanine.  The mere presence of beta-alanine initiates the production of carnosine.  What does carnosine have to do with bulking up?  Well, Carnosine is a molecule that has the ability to buffer skeletal muscle by scavenging hydrogen ions.  Carnosine to the rescue.  Onnit's T-Plus not only contains testo boosters and estrogen blockers but has added beta-alanine to its formulation to boost carnosine levels to make sure you can extend your workouts and build muscle mass.

Carnosine

Carnosine is a natural buffer that is made up to two different amino acids making it a dipeptide.  The amino acids that make up carnosine are beta-alanine and histidine.  The buffering molecule carnosine is found in both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers but there is more of it in type 2.  For those of you who are not familiar with fiber types, they are classified based on the type of myosin present and the amount of oxidative phosphorylation that the fiber experiences.  Myosin comes in fast and slow forms.  So these fibers are categorized as type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 fibers have a red appearance because they have oxygen bound to myglobin.  Myoglobin is similar to hemoglobin and they are both oxygen carriers.  Type 1 fibers are designed for endurance and as such fatigue slowly because they use oxidative respiration to generate ATP.  On the other hand, type 2 fibers are white in appearance because they don't have myoglobin and they depend upon glycolysis to make ATP.  Recall that glycolysis is the incomplete breakdown of glucose that produces lactic acid and hydrogen ions.  Type 2 fibers are great for short bursts of energy.  There are several subtypes of type 2 fibers and depending on that subtype they may use both oxidative and anaerobic metabolism.  Any which way, type 2 fibers are quick to fatigue.  Nevertheless, type 2 fibers are used in high intensity workouts and therefore important for bulking up.

So, carnosine with its ability to scavenge hydrogen ions supports endurance.  It is easy enough to boost carnosine levels simply by supplementing with beta-alanine.  It has been reported that supplementing with beta-alanine for a month increases carnosine levels somewhere between 42 to 65 percent.  Furthermore, taking carnosine 2 to 3 months may increase this buffers level by up to 80 percent.  Even so, initial results can be seen in as little as 2 weeks.  Onnit's T-Plus goes beyond being a testo booster and estrogen blocker and adds beta-alanine to its formulation to support building muscle mass thereby enhancing endurance and overall performance.  

Summary

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is needed to make the lactic acid buffer known as carnosine.  Higher concentrations of carnosine in skeletal muscle allows you to exercise harder and longer.  Various forms of exercise and training cause you to produce high concentrations of lactic acid causing you to go into acidosis.  As the pH of muscle begins to drop, you lose the ability to contract properly and fatigue sets in.  Beta-alanine supplementation allows for increased production of carnosine which is needed to scavenge excess hydrogen ions.  This is particularly important in weight training and body building.

Beta-alanine supplementation allows you to increase muscular endurance, increases exercise capacity, increases muscular strength, delays metabolic acidosis and therefore fatigue and can do so in as little as 2 weeks.  Onnit's T-Plus contains ingredients that support a testo boost along with estrogen blockers but also incorporates beta-alanine to support increased performance and muscle building capabilities.

Suggested Reading:

Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00726-009-0443-4?LI=true#page-1

http://examine.com/supplements/Beta-Alanine/

Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Boobis L, Coakley J, Kim HJ, Fallowfield JL, Hill CA, Sale C, Wise JA. The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids. 2006; 30(3):279-89

Harris RC, Jones G, Hill CA, Kendrick IP, Boobis L, Kim C, Kim H, Dang VH, Edge J, Wise JA. The carnosine content of V Lateralis in vegetarians and omnivores (abst). FASEB Journal 2007; 21: 769.20

Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during treadmill running: Pre/post 2 treatment experimental design

http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/20

β-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters

http://jap.physiology.org/content/103/5/1736.full

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