Creatine has been the best selling performance supplement for over ten years now - safe and effective, it is used by millions worldwide. But now there's a new kid on the block, one which promises to make creatine even more effective. It's name? Beta Alanine.
Jargonbuster: Amino acids - small molecules containing nitrogen that form the building blocks of all proteins
The role of amino acids as essential components of muscle growth is well established. Creatine, the most effective muscle building supplement, is made up of three amino acids - Arginine, Glycine and Methionine. When combined by the liver, these three amino acids make creatine.
Now scientists are turning their attention to another amino acid, Beta-Alanine. Although it's naturally found in the body, beta-alanine is something of a curiosity.
Unlike nearly all other amino acids, it's not used in the biosynthesis of any major proteins or enzymes, but is instead formed in the body by the degradation of other compounds.
Although Beta-alanine has been studied in a number of different contexts for some time, it is only recently that there has been any interest in the role of beta-alanine in sport performance. But a flurry of research over the past couple of years has started to demonstrate the potential it may have.