February 8, 2023

Beta-Alanine: What You Need to Know

Major Team

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that enhances athletic performance by reducing fatigue and increasing endurance. It is not involved in protein synthesis but plays a role in the production of carnosine, a dipeptide that decreases lactic acid accumulation in the muscles during exercise. Beta-alanine is often taken with other supplements, such as sodium bicarbonate and creatine.

What Beta-Alanine Offers You

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can be taken as a dietary supplement to improve muscular endurance. It is especially beneficial for high-intensity exercises that last between one and ten minutes. Examples of said activities include 400–1500 meter run, 100–400 meter swimming, and more. Taking beta-alanine can help increase the time to exhaustion (TTE), allowing individuals to exercise for longer periods.

Furthermore, beta-alanine is advantageous for older adults, providing them with increased muscle endurance and aiding in reducing errors in protein metabolism, a process associated with aging. Carnosine also seems to have anti-aging properties, making it an appealing supplement for people wishing to retain their health and fitness into their later years.

Interaction with other supplements
  • Sodium Bicarbonate: Beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate are often combined as a supplement for enhanced exercise performance, as it reduces muscles and blood acidity. Research suggests combining these two supplements can significantly improve performance during exercises in which muscles become acidotic. 
  • Creatine: When beta-alanine and creatine are used together, they benefit exercise performance, strength, and lean muscle mass. Creatine, particularly, has been shown to improve the performance of high-intensity exercises by increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability. 

Are There Any Side Effects?

Taking excessive amounts of beta-alanine may lead to a tingly sensation in your body, especially in the face, neck, and back of the hands. The severity of this sensation rises with dosage amount, being avoidable by taking small amounts — roughly 800 mg at a time. 

Furthermore, excessive beta-alanine consumption may lower the amount of taurine absorbed in the muscles due to beta-alanine actively fighting for absorption.

How Much Beta-Alanine Should You Take?

The typical daily dose of beta-alanine is between 2 and 5 grams.  Beta-alanine supplements seem more effective than carnosine itself at replenishing muscle carnosine levels. They can be increased further by taking beta-alanine with a meal.