You may have heard this term tossed around a time or two and seen it on the back of a supplement label before. But while you know what creatine does and you certainly know what protein powder does, you are at a bit of a loss as to the benefits, dose and side effects of beta alanine.
Not to worry, we’re here to set the record straight. As it turns out, beta alanine is one of the most beneficial dietary supplements that you can use to help improve your fitness so it’s worth your time and energy to invest gaining some knowledge about.
What Is Beta Alanine?
When you look at beta alanine from the ground perspective, it is a non-essential amino acid meaning it is a form of protein that the body does not require to be consumed through food (as opposed to an essential amino acid that you do need to take in through food sources).
This particular amino acid however has more powerful benefits than simply helping to fuel protein synthesis and the development of lean muscle mass however like other amino acids do. What beta alanine improves the overall carnosine levels in the blood stream (1), which then helps to fight the build-up of hydrogen ions in the muscle cells, which as you probably have already experienced already, will cut your workout short.
When hydrogen builds up (also referred to as lactic acid), you get an intense burning sensation that nearly forces you to stop your reps and cut your set short.
When you have beta alanine on your side however, you’ll have more carnosine as well and this will in turn prevent you from having to do so (2).
In addition to this, carnosine synthesis in humans also serves to function as an antioxidant in the body (3), which means it can help to combat some of the free radical damage that may be taking place due to the intense exercise being performed. This can then help improve your recovery abilities, allowing you to get back into the gym again sooner and continue on with your training.
Who Should Use Beta Alanine?
So who is best suited to using beta alanine? In a word, just about anyone who plans on doing intense exercise. But more specifically, anyone who plans on doing intermittent intense exercise will benefit the most.
This means that sprinters, weight lifters and power lifters are all primary candidates.
A distance runner for instance, would not benefit that much from beta alanine and its effects because they just don’t experience the build up of lactic acid working at their lower intensity levels. Therefore, this doesn’t become a limiting factor for them – fuel availability is more the factor that can lead to a reduced performance time.
They should focus on another supplement while forgoing the use of beta alanine.
But if you’re someone who likes to push the bar and see what all you can do with your weight lifting program, you will without a doubt see improved results from increasing muscle carnosine.
What Performance Benefits Will You Receive From Taking Beta Alanine?
To summarize, let’s go over the benefits that you’ll receive when you take beta alanine:
- Improved muscular power and strength. Beta alanine will reduce fatigue so you’ll be able to push more weight on each and every lift
- Improved muscular endurance (4). Because you won’t notice the build up of lactic acid as much, this means that you’ll see significant improvements in how many reps you can perform per set. Increased volume per session leads to increased hypertrophy results.
- Less discomfort during your workout sessions. No one likes feeling the lactic acid burn. You’ll minimize this feeling when on beta alanine.
- Superior recovery from your workout session. Thanks to the antioxidant effects plus the fact you don’t have this lactic acid present, you should see your recovery rates dramatically rise while you are carrying out your workout program.
- Less muscle soreness post-workout (5). One of the biggest reasons why you may experience muscle fatigue is due to lingering lactic acid that wasn’t flushed out from the muscle tissues. Beta alanine can help prevent this.
If you get excited about improving your athletic performance and think that they could indeed help you with your workout session, you are a perfect candidate to get beta alanine working for you.
How Much Beta Alanine Should You Use And How Should You Take It?
To reap maximum benefits from beta alanine, a dosage of around 2-3 grams per day seems to be appropriate. While you can go higher, this is a good dosage to start with. Because it can provide a slight stimulant-like response, it’s a good idea to consume it prior to your workout session and preferably a few hours at least before you are going to bed. It won’t keep you up like caffeine will, but consideration still does need to be given to the overall timing of this ingredient.
There doesn’t seem to be any need to periodize beta alanine like you have to with some other supplements, so you should not worry about taking a break from it over time. You can keep using it as long as you are doing your workout sessions.
Side Effects To Be Aware Of
Like any supplement, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with any potential side effects you may get prior to using it so you are prepared. The good news is that there are not any seriously adverse side effects reported from taking beta alanine. The one side effect you will likely encounter is a ‘tingly’ feeling in the arms and legs as the supplement goes to work. Some people do find this tingling a little uncomfortable and distracting, however in time you tend to get used to it and it’s a good indication that the supplement is at work in your system.
If you really are bothered by it, try spreading your dosage out over a few servings each day. The higher the dose is, the more noticeable the tingling will be. Some people may describe it as a burning, itching, or a feeling flushed sensation, so note that each person may experience it slightly different.
Likewise, if you use this ingredient on an empty stomach, you’re also more likely to notice the side effects than if you have a full belly. That said, it will also go to work faster in your system, so you need to weigh the pros and cons with that.
Achieving Greater Success
Finally, do realize that while beta alanine is a fantastic ingredient, it doesn’t work best on its own. As with many other ingredients you can use to help improve your workout, when you get a ‘stacked effect’, meaning you are pairing them with other ingredients, you amplify the benefits they deliver.
This is precisely the case with beta alanine. This is why I always suggest that you are pairing it with other powerful ingredients such as L-Citrulline Malate, L-Taurine, and L-Theanine to name just a few such as what you’ll find when you take Superhuman Hulk Juice.
This product designed by Alpha Lion not only gives you the most powerful effective dose of beta alanine, but is designed to help you take your workout up to the next level by supercharging multiple different areas of your performance.
You’ll gain greater energy, achieve mind-blowing pumps, help see enhanced levels of sheer muscular strength, as well as avoid an unwanted crash at the end of the workout session.
So don’t overlook beta alanine today. Get Super Human working for you and you’ll soon see exactly what this powerful ingredient can help you achieve.
- Sale, Craig, Bryan Saunders, and Roger C. Harris. “Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance.” Amino acids 39.2 (2010): 321-333.
- Smith, EC Bate. “The buffering of muscle in rigor; protein, phosphate and carnosine.” The Journal of physiology 92.3 (1938): 336-343.
- Kohen, Ron, et al. “Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 85.9 (1988): 3175-3179.
- Trexler, Eric T., et al. “International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 12.1 (2015): 30.
- Cheung, Karoline, Patria A. Hume, and Linda Maxwell. “Delayed onset muscle soreness.” Sports medicine 33.2 (2003): 145-164.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
Now I’m on a mission to transform as many lives as possible and I’m so excited you found us!
I’ve been fortunate enough to train alongside and pick the brain of some of the best pro athletes, bodybuilders and trainers in the world – and this site represents over 15+ years of insights from the world’s best.
Want more gains? Here are a few suggested actions:
Head over to the world’s largest exercise database for a wide variety of unique exercises for every muscle group
Visit our Youtube Channel where you can watch Balloon Method™ workouts for Every Muscle Group.
Check out Alpha Lion so you can learn more about 1 of the fastest growing fitness lifestyle companies in the world and stack up on the best science-backed supplements.