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What is Beta-AIBA and Does it Help with Weight Loss?

You’ve decided that you want to cut weight. You want to feel and look better and to improve your fitness and athleticism.

And after some tough gym sessions and a few healthy meals you’ve decided that it’s time to research some fat burner supplements.

The problem is though that with so many different supplements available, it can be difficult to know exactly which ones will give you the best bang for your buck.

Beta-aminoisobutyric acid or beta-AIBA for short is a new weight loss drug. It promises to be the next best thing. Like exercise but in a bottle.

Is it?

In this article we break down the science to tell you exactly how good it is.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What is beta-AIBA
  • The science – how does it work?
  • The research – is it a reliable fat burner?

What is Beta-AIBA?

B-AIBA is an amino acid formed when the nucleic acid thymine breaks down. Just below 10% of it is formed when another acid called valine is catabolized [1].

It isn’t a typical amino acid. Instead of providing you with the building blocks of protein, it is a non-protein amino acid that is found only low in concentrations in both urine and plasma.

As a supplemental drug, you’ll find it available as a powder.

BAIBA is produced during exercise

During your workouts, B-AIBA is produced when a protein called PGC-1α is triggered.

Although the science behind this is quite complex, PGC-1α basically helps to regulate how your muscles adapt to regular cardio endurance exercise [2]. So it is usually triggered when you are physically active.

Once beta-AIBA is released, it makes its way to your fat cells where it is said to provide a thermogenic effect – it increases metabolism and frees up the cell so that fat can be used for energy.

The drug may also be closely related to a decrease in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases too.

In humans, plasma BAIBA concentrations are increased with exercise and inversely associated with metabolic risk factors.

Cardio in a bottle?

The taglines and marketing behind this supplement claim that it is like taking cardio in a bottle. This is because of the increase in PGC-1α levels which in turn gently nudges beta-AIBA into using fat as energy.

The result? It’s said to help with long-term weight loss.

But is it really that simple or is it another case of weak science and wild claims? let’s take a look at the research…

The Science – Is beta-AIBA Good for Weight Loss?

By ‘liberating’ your fat cells, it is claimed that B-AIBA plays a role in both cell metabolism and how your body decides to burn fat. It has also been claimed that the drug regulates both insulin and blood lipid levels too, leading to a lower body fat and a better body composition.

There’s a fair bit of research that shows an increase in B-AIBA during exercise. It is released by your muscles and then travels to both fat cells and your liver where it stimulates lipolysis – fat burning.

Brown and white fat cells

B-AIBA targets a specific type of fat cell called white adipose cells which are the type of fat cells that store the calories you eat as fat.

This is different to brown adipose cells that covert fat your food calories into energy. The problem is though that you naturally have a lot more white cells than brown. However, you can increase the number of fat-fighting brown cells through things like exercise.

What beta-AIBA is said to do is adapt white cells into more ‘beige’ cells – fat burning furnaces that are basically an in-between version of white and brown.

It does this via PPAR alpha – a protein that is becoming popular in fat loss research. When PPAR increases, more fat burning takes place inside the cell.

And when this happens, your fat cells become more active and susceptible to using fat as energy rather than storing it.

And of course, that can lead to overall fat loss.

But does a synthetic version simulate the effects of exercise? Can you really cheat your body into forming more fat burning cells without exercise?

B-AIBA – Research is limited

To date you’ll only find one study available – and it’s an animal study at that.

Published in 2014 in the journal Cell Metabolism [3], researchers at Harvard University tested the beta-AIBA drug on mice in order to see how it worked.

They gave each of the animal volunteers either 100 or 170 mg of the drug and reported that all of the mice lost fat mass.

The mice didn’t increase physical activity levels and the only explanation for the increase in fat burning that was presented by the research team was that the fat loss came from an increase in brown adipose cells.

It’s worth noting though that this is a only a preliminary trial – that’s the reason why mice were used. It does look promising, but without human research it is currently unclear as to whether it is both safe and effective for human use.

Until more research is made available, you’d be better opting for a more robustly researched fat burner.

Summary – B-AIBA and Fat Loss

Ultimately, because it’s so understudied, it’s impossible to say with any confidence that beta-AIBA will help you boost your metabolism, beige your white fat cells and help you lose weight.

Until much more clinical evidence is made available we’d suggest sticking to a fat loss supplement that has a more successful profile.

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  1. Kuilenberg, AB et al. New insights in dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency: a pivotal role for β-aminoisobutyric acid? Biochem. J. 2004; 379: 119–124
  2. Yan, Z. Exercise, PGC-1α and metabolic adaptation in skeletal muscle. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009; 34(3): 424–427
  3. Roberts, LD et al. β-Aminoisobutyric Acid Induces Browning of White Fat and Hepatic β-Oxidation and Is Inversely Correlated with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors. Cell Metab. 2014; 19(1): 96-108