BAIBA: New Ingredient Generates Exercise in a Pill?!

3 Aminoisobutyric Acid

This amino acid has a similar structure to beta alanine and taurine, and is created naturally when you exercise. But can ingesting it make your body kick into “exercise mode” without lifting a finger?!

We’re always on the lookout for supplement ingredients that could be the “Next Big Thing”, and it’s very possible we just found one for dieters.

Its name is BAIBA (pronounced “BAY-buh”), and it may be able to mimic certain fat-burning processes that occur in your body when exercising – even when you’re not working out!

Of course, we never suggest avoiding exercise, but the research in this article definitely got our attention.

There’s currently only one company selling it as a supplement, and since it’s so new, it’s definitely not for the conservative or cautious user — at least until more human-based research is published.

This article is intense, so get ready for the PricePlow firehose:

What is BAIBA?

BAIBA, or β-aminoisobutyric acid, is an amino acid that is not naturally found in the genetic code of any organism — it’s formed when either thymine or valine are broken down.[1]

This means that BAIBA, while an amino acid, is not a building block for proteins but rather is used as a signaling molecule within the body. Because of this, consuming it will not contribute to the development of muscle mass like traditional essential amino acids (often used for recovery during or after a workout), but it may hold promise for fat-loss – and weight loss.

Today, we investigate BAIBAs effectiveness as a fat-burning / weight-loss product and its potential effectiveness at enhancing performance.

  • What is BAIBA used for?

    As you know, the increasing obesity rate in the western world has given rise to a host of metabolic conditions that number in the top ten leading causes of death in the world.[2] As such, researchers from around the globe have been searching frantically for ways to combat obesity and reduce the impact of these metabolic conditions.

    One of these research strategies is targeted at the development of anti-obesity compounds that work to increase fat mobilization and oxidation (freeing up stored fat then burning it for energy) that are also relatively side effect free and effective.

    It is in this context — severe weight disorders — that BAIBA is being researched.[1,2,3]

  • Discovery of BAIBA

    BAIBA is also known as β-aminoisobutyric acid or 3-Aminoisobutyric acid

    In a large ongoing study known as the Framingham Heart Study , the relationship between BAIBA and metabolic risk factors humans came to light.[1] Researchers noted that study participants who were put on an exercise program had higher levels of BAIBA, and that higher levels of naturally occurring BAIBA seemed to coincide with lower levels of circulating glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol.[1]

    “Exercise in a pill”??

    The findings were so substantial that they even made their way into online news sites that claimed BAIBA may be ‘exercise in pill form’ — if BAIBA could be synthesized and placed in a capsule.[4]

    The idea being that BAIBA could either be used in conjunction with exercise to enhance its effects, or instead of, to still gain some of the metabolic benefits of exercise without actually lifting a finger – though it remains to be seen if the reality matches the media’s hyperbole.

Now let’s get to the fun part:

BAIBA’s role in the body

BAIBA mimics the role of exercise through a few interrelated pathways, however, it must be emphasized that BAIBA does not augment structural changes in muscle (hypertrophy) or cause an increase in strength in any way.

Instead, BAIBA’s effects are based around metabolic changes in the liver and in fatty tissue. Some of these are:

  • Changes the characteristics of energy storing white adipose tissue into energy burning brown-like adipose tissue via PPAR alpha.[1,3]
  • Increases liver (hepatic) beta oxidation (fat burning) though a PPARa mediated mechanism.
  • Protect against fat gain in mice with partial leptin deficiency.[1,3,5]

The below diagram highlights the process by which BAIBA is increased and how it exerts its effects:

BAIBA

The process by which BAIBA is increased and how it exerts its effects[1]

At this point, we need to dig deeper and discuss the functions mentioned above, which will help explain how BAIBA works and how it is expressed.

PPAR alpha and PGC1 alpha

As stated above, BAIBA performs most of its roles through PPAR alpha activation, however, it is only released when another protein is expressed in muscle tissue – PGC1 alpha.[1,3,7]

PGC1 Alpha’s role

PGC 1 alpha is a protein that is increased during and after aerobic exercise. It contributes to the way our bodies respond to an exercise stimulus — by performing the following tasks:

  • increasing development of mitochondria (cell powerhouses),
  • regulating blood pressure,
  • regulating cholesterol, and
  • by changing the composition of our fat cells.[7]

PGC1 alpha is restricted to muscle tissue so in order to exert its effects elsewhere in the body, it uses ‘messenger’ molecules , called myokines, such as irisin and BAIBA to do its bidding in other areas of the body.[7]

PPAR Alpha – Closer to the end game

BAIBA acts on PPARa to perform the roles of white adipose browning, increase of beta oxidation and decrease in fat creation.[1,3,8]

BAIBA Weight Loss

“BAIBA is released from the muscle after an exercise bout, promoting differentiation of brown adipocyte-like cells within subcutaneous fat depots and fat oxidation in the liver.”[6]

In short hand, exercise increases PCG-1alpha, PGC-1alpha increases BAIBA, BAIBA increases PPAR alpha activity, and PPARa activity does a lot of the work we ultimately desire when exercising.

PPAR alpha is a major regulator of lipid metabolism in the liver, involved in the breakdown of fatty acids and increases in energy utilisation. It performs its work through increasing fatty acid transport, binding, and activation and through beta oxidation.[5,9]

Beta oxidation is the process in which fat is broken down for use as energy in the body.[5]

Next, let’s take a look at the different forms of adipose in the body to see how BAIBA influences these, and why it matters.

Brown vs. White Adipose Tissue

In the body, we have two major types of adipose tissue: brown and white.[3,10].

  • White Fat: The ugly kind we all want to burn

    The most predominant one is white adipose tissue, which represents the store of energy in our bodies. This form is the type we can see and grab on our bodies, which can be broken down for energy during periods of low intensity exercise and in periods of calorie deficits.

    White adipose tissue also creates the hormone leptin.[3,10]

  • Brown Fat: The Energy User

    Brown adipose tissue on the other hand is more of an energy spender than a saver [10]. Its role is more obvious in animals that hibernate throughout the winter and need to keep warm whilst they are in their slumber. Brown fat generates this heat through mitochondrial uncoupling (a form of thermogenesis that expends energy as heat) and allows these animals to stay warm without shivering.[10]

    However, in humans, brown fat only constitutes a very small amount of the fat we carry as we mostly shiver, heat our house, or put on warmer clothes in order to warm up.[10] Brown adipose appears brown due to the increased mitochondria and enhanced blood supply.[3,10]

Brown, Beige, and White Fat

The regulation of brown and beige adipocyte development.[10]

How BAIBA works: the ‘exercise in a pill’ part

So when a person exercises, concentrations of BAIBA dramatically increase within both skeletal muscle and within other tissues.[1,3] BAIBA then signals for an increase in the expression of brown adipocyte-specific genes via PPAR alpha, which triggers the “browning of white fat”.[1]

Brown adipose cells generates heat from fat, increasing the body’s metabolism and therefore expending more calories during rest and exercise.

  • Converting to a hybrid fat with the best of both worlds

    Interestingly, however, BAIBA doesn’t turn white fat completely brown but instead turns it into a third type known as “beige” fat.[1,10] This adipose form has the characteristics of brown fat but exists within white fat cells, thus allowing for heat generation from within the stored fat.[10]

    BAIBA also influences liver fat burning and cholesterol regulation through PPAR alpha activation: when PPAR alpha is activated, it increases the expression of lipoprotein lipase and apolipoprotein A-V, and decreases expression of apoC-III in the liver.[11,12]

    These three changes allow the breakdown of triglycerides and cholesterol and the transport of fatty acids out of the liver to be either stored again or burned for energy.

    Going further, PPAR alpha activation also increases hepatic apoA-I and apoA, which increases levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL.[11,12]

    BAIBA Supplements

    Simplified scheme of BAIBA metabolism, valine degradation, and thymine catabolism[22]

  • The BAIBA research studies look incredibly promising

    BAIBA also has the potential to limit the development of obesity in mice with partial leptin deficiency when eating a hypercaloric diet.[13] This study mimics what we might observe in humans who are eating a hypercaloric diet and have higher levels of body fat.[14]

    What makes this point interesting is that leptin is created in white adipose tissue, so the more fat you have, the greater amount of leptin that is produced.[14]

    The hazardous leptin negative feedback loop – can it be stopped?

    While this seems like a good thing given leptin signals the body that it is full, overstimulation can desensitize the leptin receptors in the brain and therefore stop this mechanism from working, creating a feeling of constant hunger in obese people as well as decreasing metabolic rate; essentially mimicking a leptin deficiency.[14,15]

    Leptin Feedback Loop

    Getting caught in the “Leptin Negative Feedback Loop” is one of the biggest challenges you can create for yourself. Can BAIBA supplementation help anyone break the cycle?

    The above situation is known as leptin’s “negative feedback loop” and is a monumentally serious detriment to heavily overweight individuals who cannot seem to kick out of the “downward spiral” of hunger and weight gain.

    In this study, BAIBA was able to curb adiposity by 27% and reduce fat mass by 40%![13]

Now before anyone dismisses this idea purely because it was established in mice, be mindful that most preliminary trials are first conducted in rodents to assess potential mechanisms that warrant further investigation in humans, as well as for the obvious ethical reasons.

We’re not saying that if you jump right on board, you’ll reduce your fat mass by any appreciable amount. We’re saying that this research looks incredibly promising, and then some — and we can’t wait to see more of it.

Putting it all together

BAIBA works to restore metabolic function and prevent obesity in animal models through several related mechanisms.

  • Attempting to go where no fat burner has gone before

    When it comes to weight loss, some products can increase the breakdown of triglycerides into fatty acids. However, if there is no stimulus for them to be used for energy, they are simply reformed back into adipose tissue elsewhere.[11]

    This is why it’s so important to take most fat burners discussed elsewhere on this site in a pre-workout dosage.

    Come on BAIBA Light My Fire[6]

    BAIBA, on the other hand, increases the breakdown of triglycerides and then increases the body’s metabolic rate through the browning of white fat, which increases the loss of energy as heat, which should allow for released fatty acids to be burned as heat.[1] This is what makes it so exciting.

  • Preventing new fat deposits?

    When it comes to preventing fat gain, BAIBA seems to display promising results in mice by preventing the increase of fat tissue in periods of overfeeding.[13]

    The mechanism involved is thought to be related to leptin levels, however more research is needed to determine the mechanism behind this.

  • The potential overall health impacts

    Finally, when it comes to health, overweight people tend to have higher levels of circulating triglycerides, which are transported through the blood by very low density lipoproteins (VLDL).[16]

    These smaller LDL particles are cleared from the blood plasma at a slow rate (increased residence time) where they accumulate in circulation and can penetrate the walls of arteries and cause a response from white blood cells.[16] Triglyceride accumulation can also interact with HDL cholesterol by reducing its residence time and thus decreasing reverse cholesterol transport (the removal of fat away from arteries and cell walls).[16]

    This process allows triglyceride-rich LDL particles to spend far too much time in places where they can do serious damage.

    There’s a possibility that BAIBA may antagonise this process by decreasing LDL and triglyceride levels, and through increasing HDL levels in the body — but, again, more research is required.[18]

BAIBA Results

Beta-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA), induces beneficial effects on lipid homeostasis in mice.[13]

BAIBA Supplements

Antaeus Labs LipoMorph

Click the image to see the best deal on LipoMorph, the first fat burner to contain β-Aminoisobutyric Acid

Now that you have some background, it’s time to talk about supplements. However, remember that there is little-to-no published human research at this point, and this is not for anyone who is even remotely cautious or conservative.

It goes without saying that absolutely no statements on this page have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and that this compound is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

You should definitely discuss any new diet and/or supplementation protocol with a licensed physician, and that is doubly true for a prospective new ingredient such as this one.

With that disclaimer in mind, there is currently one company who has a BAIBA supplement: Antaeus Labs, who has a fat burner named Antaeus Labs LipoMorph, as well as as a pure βAIBA supplement headed to retailers.

You can use PricePlow to compare prices on LipoMorph below, and sign up for price drop updates:

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  • BAIBA dosage

    The data surrounding the optimal oral dosage of BAIBA in humans is seriously lacking.

    Digital Scale Milligram

    When dealing with powders – especially potent ones, it’s critical you use a digital scale that measures down to the milligram.

    However, from mice studies, we can ascertain that 500mg daily for the average male is a good starting point.

    This is indeed the recommendation for LipoMorph, which has 250mg in each capsule, and recommends that you Take 2 capsules daily with food. It is recommended to take one capsule with the first meal of the day and the second in the afternoon or evening with food.

    Antaeus Labs βAIBA powder comes in a 30g tub, so if you get that, you’ll definitely want a high-grade scale that can measure down to the milligram level (or better). 1/8th of a teaspoon is about 500mg, but obviously a digital scale would be more accurate.

    Antaeus states that only adults 21 years of age or older that are healthy and have consulted a physician may purchase and use any of their products, including this one.

  • Dosage timing

    As above, the timing of the dosage in humans is also lacking. An optimal time has not yet been established, but once or twice a day with a meal should be fine – just as the LipoMorph recommends.

    In the mice trials the BAIBA was given through the drinking water which the mice drank throughout the day. In the human trials, the BAIBA was naturally elevated and not given as a supplement.

  • Who will benefit from BAIBA use?

    Liberal supplement users who are bulking (or in periods of weight gain) and have an excessive amount of body fat will most likely benefit the most from BAIBA.

    However, it can potentially be used to help those who have a high carbohydrate diet as high carbohydrate diets increase blood triglyceride levels which can interact with VLDL particles and potentially lead to heart disease in the long run.

Stacking BAIBA

The honest truth is that any new supplement like this should first be run 100% standalone so as to assess its efficacy without any confounding results.

After some use, if there is success and you wish to maintain, the following compounds may provide additional synergy:

  • Yohimbine HCl

    Alphamine

    Our top-rated fat burner, Alphamine, would be a great stacking component after you’ve decided you like BAIBA standalone. It has all three ingredients listed here.

    Yohimbine is thought to increase noradrenaline and contribute to fat mobilisation in humans. It also inhibits regulatory processes which normally stop fat loss from occurring.[19]

  • Higenamine HCl

    Higenamine HCl is thought to be a beta2 adrenergic receptor agonist which are responsible for the fat loss by increasing cAMP levels in the body. Higenamine follows the same processes which made Ephedrine a huge hit for fat loss.[20]

  • Olive Leaf Extract

    Research suggests that olive leaf helps reduce lipogenesis and may decrease fat mass in the body. Its effects can be largely contributed to its increase in triiodothyronin and thyroxin, which are thyroid hormones that are important in regulating metabolism.[21]

A fat burner that has all of these (and more) is PES Alphamine, which is also our favorite fat burner. It’s a powdered fat burning drink, so it’s easy to add other powders in with it.

But once again, any new ingredient should be run standalone first.

BAIBA, when I think about you…

At the end of the day, we’re not sure if BAIBA is the Next Big Thing™ or not, but we’re always excited about new compounds and new products. We will do our best to keep this post up to date as more research comes to light.

The comments section is open below.

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References

  1. Roberts, L et al. (n.d.). b-Aminoisobutyric Acid Induces Browning of White Fat and Hepatic b-Oxidation and Is Inversely Correlated with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors. Cell metab.; 2014
  2. Sayols-Baixeras, S., Lluis-Ganella, C., & Elosua, R. (2014). Pathogenesis of coronary artery disease: focus on genetic risk factors and identification of genetic variants. Appl Clin Genet, 7 : 15-32.
  3. Bostrom, P., et al. (2012). A PGC1-a-dependent myokine that drives brown-fat-like development of white fat and thermogenesis. Nature, 481: 463-482.
  4. Johnson, C.; Mass. General scientists discover molecule that may underlie benefits of exercise; 2014
  5. Liang, H., Ward, W. (2006). PGC-1alpha: a key regulator of energy metabolism. Adv Physiol Educ, 30 (4): 145-51
  6. Kammoun, H; Come on Light My Fire; Cellular and Molecular Metabolism Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute; 2014
  7. Lira, V., Benton, C., Yan, Z., Bonen, A (2010); PGC-1alpha regulation by exercise training and its influences on muscle function and insulin sensitivity; Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 299 (2): 145-161
  8. Wenz, T., Diaz, F., Spiegelman, B., & Moraes, C. (2008). Activation of the PPAR/PGC-1alpha pathway prevents a bioenergetic deficit and effectively improves a mitochondrial myopathy phenotype; Cell Meta, 8 (3):249-56
  9. Barbera, M., Schluter, A., Pedraza, N., Iglesias, R., Villarroya, F., & Giralt, M. (2001). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha activates transcription of the brown fat uncoupling protein-1 gene. A link between regulation of the thermogenic and lipid oxidation pathways in the brown fat cell; J Biol Chem, 12 (2): 1486-93
  10. Harms, M., & Seale, P. (2013). Brown and beige fat: development, function and therapeutic potential; Nature Medicine, 19, 1252-1263
  11. Harrington, W., Britt, C., Wilson, G., Milliken, N., Binz, J., Lobe, D., Oliver, W., Lewis, M., Ignar, D. (2007). The Effect of PPARalpha, PPARdelta, PPARgamma, and PPARpan Agonists on Body Weight, Body Mass, and Serum Lipid Profiles in Diet-Induced Obese AKR/J Mice; PPAR Res.
  12. Gross, B., & Staels, B. (2007). PPAR agonists: multimodal drugs for the treatment of type-2 diabetes; Research in Endocrinology Metabolism, 21 (4):687-710
  13. Begriche, K., Massart, J., Abbey-Toby, A., Igoudjil, A., Letteron, P., & Fromenty, B. (2008). β-Aminoisobutyric Acid Prevents Diet-induced Obesity in Mice With Partial Leptin Deficiency; Journal of Obesity, 16, 2053-2067
  14. Shimizu, H., Shimomura, Y., Hayashi, R., Ohtani, K., Sato, N., Futawatari, T., & Mori, M. (1997). Serum leptin concentration is associated with total body fat mass, but not abdominal fat distribution; Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 21 (7): 536-541.
  15. Baile, C., Della, F., Martin, R. (2000). Regulation of metabolism and body fat mass by leptin; Annual Reviews of Nutrition, 20 :105-127.
  16. McNamara, J., Jenner, J., Wilson, P., & Schaefer, E. (1992). Change in LDL particle size is associated with change in plasma triglyceride concentration; Atherioscler Thromb, 12 (11): 1284-1290.
  17. Krauss, R., Blanche, P., Rawlings, R., Fernstrom, H., & Williams, P. (2006). Separate effects of reduced carbohydrate intake and weight loss on atherogenic dyslipidemia; Am J Clin Nutr, 83 (5): 1025-1031
  18. Maisonneuve, C., Igoudjil, A., Begriche, K., Letteron, P., Guimont, M., Bastin, J., Laigneau, J., Pessayre, D., & Fromenty, B. (2004). Effects of zidovudine, stavudine and β-aminoisobutyric acid on lipid homeostasis in mice: possible role in human fat wasting; Antiviral Therapy, 9: 801-810.
  19. Ostojic, S. (2006). Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players; Res Sports Med, 14 (4): 289-299
  20. Feng S, et al (2012). A phase I study on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of higenamine in healthy Chinese subjects; Acta Pharmacol Sin
  21. Omar SH. (2010). Oleuropein in olive and its pharmacological effects; Sci Pharm
  22. KEGG Pathway; Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine Degradation Pathway Map; Kanehisa Laboratories; 2014
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