Opus, a Magnum supplement designed for intra-workout, contains beta-alanine which is a very popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. We want to explore the active components of Opus and other Magnum supplements to show the science behind the benefits.
What is Beta-Alanine?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is produced naturally in the body. Beta-alanine aids in the production of carnosine. Carnosine reduces lactic acid accumulation in your muscles during exercise which leads to improved exercise performance. For a weightlifter or athlete, increased carnosine levels means more endurance and greater power during times where performance would suffer due to muscle fatigue.
How does it work?
Here’s how Beta-alanine, an active component of certain Magnum supplements, works:
- Glucose is broken down: Glycolysis is the breakdown of glucose, which is the main source of fuel during high-intensity exercise.
- Lactate is produced: As you exercise, your muscles break glucose down into lactic acid. This is converted into lactate, which produces hydrogen ions (H+).
- Muscles become more acidic: The hydrogen ions reduce the pH level in your muscles, making them more acidic.
- Fatigue sets in: Muscle acidity blocks glucose breakdown and reduces the muscles’ ability to contract. This causes fatigue.
- Carnosine buffer: Carnosine serves as a buffer against the acid, reducing the acidity in muscles during high-intensity exercise.
In a nutshell, muscles contain carnosine. Higher levels of carnosine allow the muscles to perform for longer periods before they become fatigued. H+ causes your muscles pH to drop decreasing strength and causing you to fatigue faster. Beta-alanine works to fight the drop in pH within your muscles that limit your exercise performance.
What are the benefits of Beta-alanine?
Research supports the benefits of beta-alanine, which is why we incorporate it into Magnum supplements such as Opus. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine in 2008 reported that subjects taking just 4 grams of beta-alanine per day for 30 days were able to increase the number of reps they could complete during a squat workout by almost 25 percent more than those taking a placebo.
By increasing inter-muscular levels of carnosine, weightlifters are able to train harder and longer for greater muscle growth. This means you can maintain more strength and power later in your workouts — meaning you can lift more weight for more reps. Lifting heavy weights for longer periods of time allows you to build more muscle and increase your strength.
Numerous studies have shown that beta-alanine helps increase the time to exhaustion (TTE). In other words, it helps you exercise for longer periods at a time. In general, muscle acidosis limits the duration of high-intensity exercise. For this reason, beta-alanine specifically helps performance during high-intensity and short-duration exercise lasting one to several minutes.
Beta-alanine can be obtained from carnosine-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish and weightlifting on its own effectively increases carnosine levels in muscle naturally. However, supplementation with beta-alanine, in a Magnum supplement such as Opus, takes those carnosine increases to a new level. According to research by the Journal of Applied Physiology supplementing with beta-alanine has been shown to elevate carnosine levels in muscles by 80 percent. That’s a huge increase, meaning that can you train harder and longer.
A study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that supplementing with beta-alanine for three weeks increased lean muscle mass. Similarly, supplementing for four weeks helped 32 females reduce body weight and body fat while also increasing lean muscle mass. Beta-alanine can help increase training volume. This can lead to increases in lean body mass and reductions in body fat.
How much Beta-alanine is needed to increase performance?
Research shows that the absolute lowest amount of beta-alanine consumed to provide the benefits listed above is 1.6 grams per day. However, research has also shown that higher levels can provide better benefits. It is generally advised to take three to six grams daily. So, if you are a woman coming in at around 100 pounds – you should take around 3 grams beta-alanine. Alternatively, if you are a man pushing 200 pounds—you should take 4.5 to 6 grams per day.
According to research by the Journal of Applied Physiology, a 40-to-60 percent increase in muscle carnosine concentrations are often seen after four weeks of supplements. One study reported that when subjects supplementing with 2.4 grams of beta-alanine per day increased their intake to 3.6 grams per day, their muscle carnosine levels were even greater than they were while taking 2.4 g per day. When they then increased their intake to just over 4 grams per day, again their muscle carnosine levels increased even greater.
Who can benefit from Beta-alanine?
- Weight lifters
- High intensity cross trained athletes
- Military personal
- MMA Fighters
- Sport-specific training that requires both strength and endurance
- Soccer and hockey players
- Active individuals who have reached a training plateau and are looking for something to take them to the next level
- Men and women
Other Key Ingredients in Opus
Opus, one Magnum supplement that features Beta-alanine, also contains other key ingredients that delay muscular fatigue allowing you to train harder and longer.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) enhances exercise performance by reducing acid in the blood and muscles. Many studies have analyzed the combination of beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate. The results suggest some benefits from combining the two supplements, especially during exercises where muscle acidosis inhibits performance.
Citrulline malate appears to improve overall training performance by reducing muscular fatigue during exercise. How? By accelerating the clearance of ammonia and lactate (two metabolic waste products that impair muscle contractions), citrulline malate may allow you to squeeze out additional repetitions on sets that utilize moderate to high reps, as well as help you recover more quickly in between sets.
Another benefit of citrulline malate is that it reduces post workout muscle soreness which may help improve recovery in between workouts. The effects of citrulline malate on reducing muscle soreness are usually quite significant and noticeable. If you’re on a higher frequency plan that has you training each specific muscle group twice a week or more, this may improve overall strength and performance on subsequent workouts if you do tend to get quite sore after training.
A recent citrulline malate study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated a clear increase in bench pressing strength in a group of 41 men receiving either 8 grams of citrulline malate or a placebo. The men supplementing with the citrulline malate saw an 18% gain in strength in comparison to the other group a quarter of the way through the workout, followed by a 53% increase toward the end of the workout. The same bench press study also noted a significant decrease in post workout muscle soreness at the 24 and 48 hour marks in the men supplementing with citrulline malate.
Why combine Beta-alanine with Creatine?
Creatine helps high-intensity training by increasing ATP availability. When used together, creatine and beta-alanine have been shown to increase exercise performance, strength and lean muscle mass.
In a study by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, researchers evaluated the performance of athletes either taking creatine; creatine with beta-alanine; or a placebo. The results of the research found the group taking creatine with beta-alanine had the highest increase in their performance.
Jim Stoppani (who has a doctorate in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut) has reported that a group of weight-trained athletes consuming 3.2 grams of beta-alanine plus 10 grams of creatine daily for 12 weeks gained significantly more muscle mass while simultaneously losing significant body fat—as compared to a group taking just 10 grams of creatine alone and another group taking a placebo. According to Stoppani, both the creatine only group and the placebo group did not lose any body fat.
Why Big C®?
Big C®, one of our most popular Magnum supplements, combines Isolate, Pyruvate, AKG and Tri-creatine malate to increase the amount of creatine made available to your working muscle tissue. These creatine forms were selected due to the rate and ease at which they are absorbed. More absorption equals less water retention and with Big C® you have zero water retention. Equally important is their ability to not only increase strength and power, but also muscular endurance, as regular creatine fails to do so