The key difference between alanine and beta alanine is that alanine normally is less dense than beta-alanine.
What is Alanine?
Alanine is an alpha amino acid useful in the biosynthesis of proteins. Its symbol is Ala or A. This protein consists of an amine group and a carboxylic acid group attached to a central carbon atom that can carry a methyl group side chain. The IUPAC name of this substance is 2-aminopropanoic acid. We can classify it as a nonpolar, aliphatic alpha amino acid. Under some biological conditions, alanine tends to exist as a zwitterion. In this zwitterion, the amino group is protonated while the carboxylic acid group is deprotonated.
Alanine is a non-essential amino acid because we can synthesize it metabolically inside the body. Therefore, it doesn’t have to be essentially included in the diet. Moreover, alanine is encoded by all the codons, which start with GC.
There are two isomers of alanine known as L-alanine and D-alanine. L isomer is the left-handed form, while D isomer is the right-handed form. We can find the right-handed D-alanine in the polypeptides in some bacterial cell walls, some antibiotics, and in tissues of many crustaceans and molluscs such as osmolytes.
What is Beta Alanine?
Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid that forms naturally in the body and aids in the production of carnosine. Carnosine is an important compound that can play an important role in muscle endurance when doing high-intensity exercises.
Beta alanine can initiate temporary itching and tingling of the skin, such as on the neck, shoulders, and arms if we ingest it in high amounts. This sensation is known as paresthesia. It can be slightly uncomfortable, but there is no need to panic about this.
When taken orally, beta-alanine can cause some side effects such as flushing and tingling. However, if we take a tablet consisting of beta-alanine rather than drinking a solution made from this component (a solution made from beta-alanine powder), these side effects can be reduced.
What is the Difference Between Alanine and Beta Alanine?
Alanine is an alpha amino acid useful in the biosynthesis of proteins. Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid that forms naturally in the body and aids in the production of carnosine. The key difference between alanine and beta alanine is that alanine normally is less dense than beta-alanine. Moreover, alanine is useful in the production of various different proteins. Meanwhile, beta alanine is specifically important in producing carnosine, which is a compound that plays an important role in muscle endurance when we are doing high intensity exercises.
The below infographic presents the differences between alanine and beta alanine in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Alanine vs Beta Alanine
Alanine is an amino acid, while beta alanine is a derivative of alanine. The key difference between alanine and beta alanine is that alanine normally is less dense than beta-alanine. Alanine is important in making different proteins. Beta alanine, on the other hand, can aid in the production of carnosine, a compound important in muscle endurance upon high-intensity exercises.
1. “L-Alanin – L-Alanine” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Beta alanine comparison” By Opabinia regalisvector version byGYassineMrabetTalk✉ – from Beta alanine comparison.png made by Opabinia regalis. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia