Table of Contents
Journal of Amino Acids
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 429847, 5 pages
Research Article

An Evaluation of Interindividual Responses to the Orally Administered Neurotransmitter β-Alanine

1Department of Medicine (Neurology), Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 3R4
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 3R4
3Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 3R4

Received 29 November 2012; Accepted 6 June 2013

Academic Editor: Hari S. Sharma

Copyright © 2013 Sarah MacPhee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previously, we have identified β-alanine as a potential endogenous anticonvulsant molecule. β-Alanine occurs within the human central nervous system and has been identified as both an inhibitory neuromodulator and neurotransmitter that is bioavailable to brain after oral administration. During preliminary compounding trials to ascertain dosing strategies for β-alanine, we noted pronounced differences in the side effect profile experienced by individuals of Asian and Caucasian descent. To investigate whether ethnicity affects β-alanine-induced side effects, we administered 3 g of β-alanine in 200 mL of fruit drink to ten people of each ethnic background and observed them for 30 minutes. Data collected included basic physical statistics (height, age, and weight) and descriptions of all side effects, as reported by participants. We found that participants of Asian descent experienced paraesthesia, but significantly different in time of onset, intensity, and anatomical localization, as compared to the effects experienced by Caucasian participants. Since β-alanine is an endogenous neurotransmitter substance within human brain, these side effect differences were unexpected.