Beta-Alanine Review

May 23rd, 2008 by Paul Johnson

Beta-Alanine in recent years caught attention as a popular bodybuilding muscle building supplement, but the research supporting this supplement goes pretty far back. Beta-Alanine is one of the biggest supplement breakthroughs since Creatine. Coincidentally, Beta-Alanine was first researched by , Dr. Roger Harris in the 90’s, who’s research led us also to Creatine.

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-Alanine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid, which just means it can’t be converted to protein. Although it is found naturally in certain meats, but it’s only in small amounts. The only way to truly benefit from high doses of beta-alanine, is to buy it in supplement form.

How Beta-Alanine benefits bodybuilders:

Dr. Roger Harris discovered carnosine was in higher concentrations in Type 2 muscle fibers, these fibers are most responsible for getting bigger and producing strength. Inside the muscle, carnosine, seems to regulate the PH levels in muscle fibers. As you know, lactic acid can build up in a persons muscles causing the painful burn and to prematurely end their set. Carnosine in the muscle allows someone to workout longer because of it buffering the PH level and they feel less pain.

The only way carnosine gets into the muscle, is after it has been converted from beta-alanine and histidine in the body. Histidine is already in plenty amounts circulating the body, but beta-alanine is not. The only way to get beta-alanine into the body in the first place, is either to take carnosine (which converts to beta-alanine and histidine during digestion) or to take beta-alanine by itself.

A study by Stout, J., et al., Effects of Beta-Alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromusclular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. University of Oklahoma, OK has reaffirmed earlier research, that beta-alanine allows better muscular endurance.

Not only can beta-alanine supplementation help with muscular endurance and power, but with muscle gains. A study by Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46 showed after 10 weeks on 33 football players, showed the beta-alanine plus creatine group gained more muscle and lost more fat, over the creatine only and placebo groups. I suspect this is because they could workout more intensely with beta-alanine and this could lead to better long term muscle gains. Like creatine, beta-alanine allows you to workout longer and more intensely. This better muscular endurance should lead to better long term muscle gains in theory. Another possible theory of mine for the muscle gains, is that lowering the PH level in the muscle fibers during workouts, allows for a better muscle building environment.

Whether you take carnosine or beta-alanine, it doesn't matter because both will eventually get converted to carnisine back in the muscles. Bodybuilders prefer to take beta-alanine powder because it is cheaper and can also be found in bulk powder. Most bodybuilders stack creatine and beta-alanine together, so they get two powerful muscle builders together at once. You may notice a tingling sensation when you first take beta-alanine, but it goes away after a few weeks. This is caused by some stimulation on the nerves.

  1. Derrin on January 5th, 2010

    O.k. so heres my question, I’ve worked out just about my entire life. I havent worked out in years, I mean I havent even touched a weight in at the very least 2 yrs. I lost all my mass. I have a fast metabolism so I still have muscle definition, but I went from 185lbs to my current 140lbs. Can I use just the one product for mass or do I need to stack them? And will it help put on mass?

  2. Kaj on January 12th, 2011

    Hi Derrin you could just take creatine I’d recommend ethyl ester creatine. Also I’d recommend stacking it with beta alinine increasing your endurance and recovery to get better gains quicker also a high protein diet for healing and growth. I love this stack its the best. 🙂