Beta Alanine for MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Beta Alanine is hyped up a lot in the bodybuilding supplement industry, as a highly effective pre-workout ergogenic aid.
Unfortunately, EVERYTHING under the sun, that is sold by the supplement industry, is equally hyped.
Unlike 90% of the other stuff, beta alanine is actually really effective.
The main thing I like about it, is its ability to enhance muscular endurance, without getting any of the jitters that caffeine might cause. This makes it a good choice when competing too. Caffeine will make you more nervous than you already are when competing, beta alanine will not (as far as I am aware).
I like to combine around 3g, with 1g of taurine prior to any grappling.
Here is some research that may be of interest
Forty-six men were assessed for peak O2 utilization (VO2peak), time to fatigue (VO2TTE), ventilatory threshold (VT), and total work done at 110% of pre-training VO2peak (TWD).
All subjects were randomly assigned into one either a placebo (PL – 16.5 g dextrose powder per packet; n = 18) or β-alanine (BA – 1.5 g β-alanine plus 15 g dextrose powder per packet; n = 18) group.
All subjects supplemented four times per day (total of 6 g/day) for the first 21-days, followed by two times per day (3 g/day) for the subsequent 21 days, and engaged in a total of six weeks of HIIT training consisting of 5–6 bouts of a 2:1 minute cycling work to rest ratio.
Significant improvements in VO2peak, VO2TTE, and TWD after three weeks of training were displayed (p < 0.05). Increases in VO2peak, VO2TTE, TWD and lean body mass were only significant for the BA group after the second three weeks of training.
The use of HIIT to induce significant aerobic improvements is effective and efficient. Chronic Beta Alanine supplementation may further enhance High Intensity Intermittent Training, improving endurance performance and lean body mass.
Fifteen male athletes participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study and were supplemented orally for 4 wk with either 4.8 g/day β-alanine or placebo. Muscle carnosine concentration was quantified in soleus and gastrocnemius by proton MRS. Performance was evaluated by isokinetic testing during five bouts of 30 maximal voluntary knee extensions, by endurance during isometric contraction at 45% maximal voluntary contraction, and by the indoor 400-m running time. β-Alanine supplementation significantly increased the carnosine content in both the soleus (+47%) and gastrocnemius (+37%). In placebo, carnosine remained stable in soleus, while a small and significant increase of +16% occurred in gastrocnemius. Dynamic knee extension torque during the fourth and fifth bout was significantly improved with β-alanine but not with placebo. Isometric endurance and 400-m race time were not affected by treatment.
Subjects participated in two incremental treadmill tests before and after 28 days of supplementation with either βA (6.0 g·d-1)(βA, n = 8) or an equivalent dose of Maltodextrin as the Placebo (PL, n = 9).
βA supplementation for 28 days enhanced sub-maximal endurance performance by delaying OBLA (when lactate starts building up in the blood Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation). However, βA supplemented individuals had a reduced aerobic capacity as evidenced by the decrease in VO2max values post supplementation.
and here is a meta analysis:
Fifteen published manuscripts were included in the analysis
In line with the purported mechanisms for an ergogenic effect of β-alanine supplementation, exercise lasting 60–240 s was improved
In contrast, there was no benefit of β-alanine on exercise lasting less than 60 s
– Interestingly – the data suggests that, as you can see above, beta alanine works best for exercise lasting longer than a minute; so ideal for MMA or BJJ
– There is less research on taurine, but I did manage to find one study that suggests it improves endurance parameters.
– All the research I could find on beta alanine, suggested taking it for at least a week before hand. I’m not sure I’d recommend this, as I couldn’t find any research on beta alanine supplementation and safety over extended periods of time.
– According to Examine.com, taurine and beta-alanine compete for absorption. So if combining them doesn’t seem to work for you, try them individually
Give them both a try 30 mins before training. 3g beta alanine and 1g of taurine, and see if it makes a difference.
I find them massively effective. This may be because I’m 5ft 10 and 14 stone, and perhaps carrying more muscle than an average MMA and BJJ participant; and/or because I don’t do much cardio!
Exercise and diet at your own risk
Peace and Love