Wim Derave, from Ghent in Belgium, argues that taking beta-alanine has a positive influence on the buffer capacity at high intensity efforts lasting from 60 to 240 seconds. Beta-alanine is an important building block for the production of carnosine. Carnosine is one of the important buffers in order to maintain the acidity in the body. According to Derave the sensitivity to calcium rises with the increase of the carnosine amount. This would eventually lead to fatigue occurring later
However, taking carnosine is meaningless. After ingestion, it is directly broken down in the gastro-intestinal system. The taking of beta-alanine does lead to an increase in the amount of carnosine, and with an increased buffering capacity. It appears that the total amount of ingested beta-alanine is decisive for the rate of rising in the amount of carnosine. The maximum daily dose is 5 grams. A higher intake leads to physical discomfort such as tingling in the face and fingers.
In order to avoid these nasty side effects one might use slow-release beta-alanine. Derave indicates that the effects of the long-term ingestion of beta-alanine are still unclear. The most recent and as yet unpublished research of Derave shows that a maintenance dose of 1.2 grams per day is sufficient to increase the buffer capacity. It is still unclear whether this dose should be the same for light and heavy athletes. Up to today the study of beta-alanine has only taken place in men. Derave showed unpublished data that prove that the absolute increase in carnosine is equal for men and women. The increase in women seems relatively even greater because women themselves have a lower amount of carnosine.