Beta-alanine is an intracellular buffer of hydrogen ions through increasing muscle carnosine levels. It's a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements and is the reason your skin tingles when you take them!
This supplement only has benefits in certain sports and situations. It needs to be more than 90s minimum, but shouldn't be taken in aerobic training periods/sports. As it buffers hydrogen ions, it reduces time to fatigue and improves anaerobic performance. It's perfect for CrossFit athletes and team sport players.
Take little and often throughout the day in small doses to lower the side effect of skin tingling (paraesthesia). You need to load beta-alanine for 4-10 weeks with 80mg/kg bodyweight and then afterwards maintain with 40mg/kg.
4. Sodium Bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate is gaining more and more traction in endurance sports to help anaerobic performance by buffering hydrogen ions and lowering lactic acid. However, stomach upsets are common with this one so I won't mention it too much!
Potential Supplements Worth Mentioning
These are usually in pill form and contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These can be useful if you struggle to get certain micronutrients in, or are deficient in some for whatever reason. However, you have to be careful of the form of some of the vitamins/minerals, as they could potentially compete against each other for absorption (like Zinc and Magnesium). To be honest, unless you're knee deep in a calorie deficit as a small female, you should be able to get your micronutrients from a varied diet
There's a huge hype over these at the moment, but is it warranted? There is still mixed evidence around them, some showing strong health benefits and other's showing no significant difference. However, they could be very useful in helping heal the gut after a course of antibiotics, or after some severe travelling. My advice would be not to worry about it unless you've had some major gut issues and have been advised by a GP.
3. Tart Cherry Juice
This one is another sports supplement that has some mixed evidence supporting it. However, it has evidence to show a reduction in DOMS and an improvement in sleep due to its natural melatonin content. I've used it myself and with some clients, but it's hard to know whether this has an effect or if it's the combination of good nutrition, fish oils, and sleep etc.
4. Beetroot Juice
Some evidence to show an improvement in aerobic exercise due to it reducing the cost of oxygen, however, it is mixed.
Let me just tee this up with the fact these are the most over-hyped supplements on the planet. The branched chain amino acids are only necessary if you have low protein intakes. If you get enough protein in your diet, you do not need them. They can be potentially useful if you intermittent fast and train before breaking the fast.
And that's that!
Yep, that's my huge overview of supplements. Remember, if it's not here, it probably doesn't have sufficient evidence to be useful. Do your due diligence and check stuff out on examine.com for profiles of research and affect on humans.
Be wary of people selling stuff! Remember that supplement companies have margins and people will sell anything these days. If you're an athlete or in tested sport, your best bet is to go for an Informed Choice brand to make sure you don't get popped for any banned substances.
If you'd like to discuss anything here or let me know what you think, please reach out to me on email: email@example.com