Does Beta-Alanine Work?

July 9th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Although beta-alanine was discovered 100 years ago, today it has been found to have uses in bodybuilding. Beta-Alanine is also known as 3-aminopropanoic acid. It should not be confused with alanine. Beta-Alanine is a non proteinogenic amino acid, which means it cannot be synthesized into a protein. Beta-Alanine can be found naturally in poultry and beef.

Beta-Alanine research:

Dr. Roger Harris research, which later led to creatine on the market, has also now helped bring attention to beta-alanine. Research starting in 95 and then by Harris in 98, showed that Beta-Alanine supplementation could help increase performance. This appears to be due to beta-alanine being a pre-cursor to converting to carnisine in muscles. You can read more about Carnisine in another article of mine.

A study published in Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46 was done for 10 weeks on 33 college football players. They had groups put in placebo, creatine, or creatine plus beta-alanine. The results of the study showed that the beta-alanine plus creatine group gained more muscle and lost more fat than the creatine or placebo group. This study shows that not only is beta-alanine beneficial, but it can be taken together with creatine.

Another 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. showed that beta-alanine supplementation significantly increased endurance. This is important because it means you will be able to get that extra rep in for your set before you tire.

Beta-Alanine Recommendations:

The optimal dose seems to be about 5 grams a day according to research. It should also be taken with a high carbohydrate meal. Beta-Alanine seems to have similiar benefits overall as creatine. Taking creatine with Beta-Alanine will mean you will get benefits of both supplements simultaneously. It may take 3 to 4 weeks to start noticing results from Beta-Alanine. According to studies it should take 12 weeks before it hits its peak.

Beta-Alanine Side Effects:

Some people notice beta-alanine giving them a tingling sensation on the skin in the first few weeks directly after ingestion that lasts about an hour. Eventually this subsides after a few weeks of supplementation. It is caused by how Beta-Alanine binds to nerve receptors. It is not felt by everyone, so it is not a sign of it working or not.

  1. Mark on October 13th, 2007

    Great post. Many supplement users have no idea how much of an impact and just how strong Beta-Alanine is. I remember the first time I took a supplement containing this ingredient and in all honesty, had one of the best back workouts of my life. While there aren’t an abundance of great Beta-Alanine products out there I would have to say by far my favorite is H+Blocker by iSatori. For everyone reading this most, it is true about the tingling in your extremeties, but it does subside after a few weeks.

  2. billy on November 17th, 2008

    do you take it after or before workout

  3. Cody on January 6th, 2009

    i hate the tingling! but the gains are gooood!
    i take 30% of recomended dosage 45 min prior to work out then the rest after the work out. i do this to restore the reserve. im not sure if this is truly effective but i have read some articles that state supplimentation after the work out is most effective.. because that is when ur body is hungry! sipplimentation prior to work out will probly give u better results in strenth for a short time but the real gains happen after u leave the gym. i find the same is true with creatin.

  4. alex on December 6th, 2009

    does the tingling hurt? whats it like?

  5. Bill on January 29th, 2010

    I am wondering if it works

  6. frandy on January 29th, 2010

    what happenes if you take till your totally ripped then you stopeed what will happen?

  7. Andrew on February 3rd, 2010

    my mom and i have taken this for about 1 1/2 weeks and we didnt have any tingling in the face. and i just would like to say that i have had results already. i would like to see what i will later look like after the 3 week marker, but just to say it has worked for me. all you have to do is just work out about 5-7 days a week (what i have been doing) and you will notice results, and what ive been told is that it takes about 3 weeks for it to have a good amount of affect. but yeah, i do recommend getting this.

  8. Andrew on February 3rd, 2010

    @ billy, you are supposed to take 2 before and 2 after. and to get good results i just take it on an empty stomach about 20-30 minutes before and then take it right after the work out.

  9. Nick on April 4th, 2010

    anybody ever used carnosin seems to be some kind of the beta-alanine?

  10. Matthew Carson on May 18th, 2010

    The tingle, paraesthesia, is irritating but I use it an indication that its time to hit the gym (approx 30 after ingesting my pre-workout supplement, White Flood).

  11. harry on March 17th, 2011

    The best way would be to take it throughout the day
    For example 1000 mg with breakfast 1000 mg with lunch, 1500 mg prior to workout (or on non work-out days 1000 mg with dinner) and 1000 mg after workout.