Although only recently brought to the forefront in the sport supplements industry, beta-alanine was discovered over 100 years ago. Also known as 3-aminopropanoic acid, beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid. Not to be confused with alanine, beta- alanine is classified as a non-proteinogenic amino acid as it is not used in the building of proteins.
The greatest sources of the natural dietary supplement beta-alanine are believed to be obtained through ingesting the beta-alanine containing dipeptides: carnosine, anserine and balenine, rather than directly ingesting beta-alanine. These dipeptides are commonly found in protein rich foods such as chicken, beef, pork and fish. However, obtaining beta-alanine through these dipeptides is not the only way, as our bodies can synthesize it in the liver from the catabolism of pyrimidine nucleotides which are broken down into uracil and thymine and then metabolized into beta-alanine and B-aminoisobutyrate. Of course, it can also be ingested through direct supplementation which is the focus of this article.