what is beta-alanine?

Beta-Alanine is an amino acid which has become very popular in the world of sports nutrition as research has shown that it improves muscular endurance. Food sources such as beef and chicken contain beta-alanine however only in small doses. Along with creatine, BCAA’s and caffeine, beta-alanine has become a staple of pre-workout supplements. Taking Beta-Alanine is closely followed by a tiggling sensation; this is known as paresthesia and is nothing to worry about. If you find this feeling unpleasant however you can try taking smaller doses more regularly throughout the day.

how does it work?

During high-intensity, anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting or sprinting the acidity of the muscles increases. This increase in acidity impairs the muscles ability to contract with force… this is where beta-alanine comes in. When ingested beta alanine binds with the amino acid histidine to produce an acidity buffer known as Carnosine. Carnosine helps maintain the muscles ability to contract forcefully by preventing the environment within the muscles becoming too acidic. The availability of beta-alanine is the limiting factor when it comes to carnosine production therefore taking it in supplement form will allow more carnosine to be formed.



Anaerobic Exercise: One study looked at the effect of beta-alanine supplementation and muscle carnosine concentrations on the performance of highly trained rowers. 18 rowers supplemented with 5g/day of either a placebo or beta-alanine for 7 weeks. They found that the carnosine levels in the calf muscles of those who had taken beta-alanine had increased significantly. The participants had to complete a 2000 metre row on a rowing machine before and after the supplementation period. Before supplementation the placebo group was 0.3 seconds quicker, however after the supplementation those taking beta-alanine were 4.3 seconds quicker. It was concluded that supplementation with beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine levels and improve rowing performance [1].

Power & Muscular Endurance: A study using 400m sprint trained athletes found that beta-alanine supplementation significantly increased muscle carnosine levels. This lead to an increase in the muscular endurance of sprinters during repeated bouts of maximal exercise however didn’t increase 400m running performance [2].

how much should I take?

The standard daily dose of beta-alanine is between 3-6 g. The real benefit is experienced following several weeks of daily supplementation as it takes time to build up and saturate your muscles beta-alanine stores. Although beta-alanine is often taken before training and is incorporated into many pre-workout supplements it can be taken at any time throughout the day. Taking smaller doses (1-2g) a few times a day rather than one large dose will help prevent the tingling sensation that some people consider to be unpleasant.

Why not try our Beta-Alanine Capsules?


[1] Derave, W., Özdemir, M. S., Harris, R. C., Pottier, A., Reyngoudt, H., Koppo, K., ... & Achten, E. (2007). β-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. Journal of applied physiology, 103(5), 1736-1743. 

[2] Baguet, A., Bourgois, J., Vanhee, L., Achten, E., & Derave, W. (2010). Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 109(4), 1096-1101.