Beta-alanine (B-alanine) is a non-essential amino acid. It works hand-in-hand with carnosine, another amino acid that enables muscles to work at higher-than-normal intensity. Beta-alanine is a precursor to carnosine and the amount present determines the amount of carnosine that can be actively used by muscle tissue.
How it works
Beta-alanine is actually part of the base of amino acids that make up the complex amino acid, carnosine (in tandem with histidine). Carnosine's role in the body is to maintain the pH balance of muscles during exercise by removing excess hydrogen ions generated during strenuous work outs. The closer the muscles are to their optimal pH balance, the better they perform. Beta-alanine's specific role in this process is to signal how much carnosine should be delivered to the muscle tissue. Thus, with an increased presence of beta-alanine comes an increased uptake of carnosine in the muscles.
To understand the benefits of beta-alanine, you must first understand the advantages of carnosine, as beta-alanine alone does nothing in particular for the body.
Beta-alanine, in combination with increased intake of carnosine, has been demonstrated to improve muscular endurance. Athletes use it as a performance booster and bodybuilders use it to increase the intensity and length of weight training sessions. There is also some body of evidence that suggests carnosine may fight the wear of the aging process.
Beta-alanine and carnosine give a temporary boost to muscular output and anaerobic endurance. Unlike many claims in the supplement world, this one is backed by numerous authoritative studies that demonstrate its effects.
A 2010 study conducted on elite Belgian rowers found a strong positive correlation between muscle-carnosine concentration and speed over a variety of different distances. Similar results were found in a study of Olympic-level speed skaters in Korea. Some members of the team that researched Korean athletes again tested the effects on cyclists over a 12-week training course, and again saw a correlation between beta-alanine and carnosine levels and performance.
Beta-alanine and carnosine give a temporary boost to muscular output and anaerobic endurance.
Evidence directly connecting beta-alanine with increased muscle gains in strength training is much more ambiguous. Scientific studies to date have focused on performance in elite endurance athletics. There are no studies that specifically focus on muscle development over extended periods of time.
Bodybuilders take supplemental beta-alanine and carnosine on the assumption that the increased muscle endurance shown in studies will translate to their ability to either lift for longer periods of time and/or lift a greater than usual amount of weight.
While direct evidence for muscle growth is still up in the air, several carnosine studies have focused on high-intensity cardio and found an increase in gains with supplementation. A 2007 study looked at a mixed group of participants saw improvements in a cycle test over the course of four weeks and again at 10 weeks, and a 2010 study of cycle ergometry in a group of 44 females showed greater gains in cardiovascular fitness over the coarse of six weeks.
Human studies have shown that carnosine slows the decay of fibroblast cells and in mice, the compound delays overall aging. Research is still in early stages, however, and at the moment, the actual mechanism by which carnosine slows cell decay is not understood.
Beta-alanine has no established recommended daily allowance (RDA). Generally, intake is based on weight, and amount of time you've been taking the amino acid. The RDA, outlined in the table below, is specifically formulated for bodybuilders and athletes.
The studies mentioned previously research the use of higher daily dosages, ranging from 3.2g (3200mg) to 6g (6000mg), taken prior to exercise.
Beta-alanine can be purchased in either capsule form or in flavored and unflavored powders. Capsules will generally contain 750mg to 1000mg of beta-alanine. Powder is typically sold in tubs of 200g to 500g.
Regardless of the form in which you purchase beta-alanine, it's important to check the ingredients to see if the supplement contains only beta-alanine or the full amino acid, which includes carnosine. As discussed previously, beta-alanine is not a functional compound if there is no carnosine in the system.
Beta-alanine is most known for creating a tingling feeling or a hot, flushing sensation immediately after ingestion. This is caused by vasodilation, which may also create a sensation of throbbing veins. These side effects may be worrisome to first-time users, but unless you have a health condition that makes the use of beta-alanine a risk, these side effects are usually harmless.
At present there are no other known side effects connected to beta-alanine supplementation. You should always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.
While studies spanning a limited timeframe indicate that beta-alanine supplementation is safe, the long-term effects of regular usage at higher volumes remain unknown.
There is a rare condition called hyper beta-alaninaemia, in which the body retains too much beta-alanine. This condition can impair central nervous system function. Hyper-beta-alaninaemia is naturally occurring and has not been shown to be caused by supplementation of a specific amount, but nevertheless, those suffering from the condition should avoid further consumption of beta-alanine.
Most beta-alanine supplement manufacturers advise women who are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, to refrain from implementing this amino acid to their fitness regiment, unless specifically approved by their physician.
Beta-alanine and carnosine occur naturally in protein-rich foods, particularly meat, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese. Alanine can be found in a range of vegetables, but as carnosine's name may indicate, it occurs naturally in only humans and animals. For non-meat eating vegetarians and vegans, supplementation is the only way to get enough beta-alanine to aid in muscular endurance.
It's always important to consult a doctor before beginning a new workout regimen and supplement plan, especially if you have specific health concerns. However, it's extremely important with beta-alanine as this amino acid is almost always used to significantly increase workload. The FDA does not regulate beta-alanine and no recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established.
Pregnant women should not take beta-alanine as a supplement.
Where to buy
Not only can you purchase beta-alanine here at PricePlow, you can save 30% to 50% off of retail prices. Depending on your location, you may be able to save on sales tax as well. Let PricePlow take care of the heavy lifting of comparison shopping so that you can get back to your workout.
- Baguet, A et al.; Journal of Applied Physiology; "Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance;" July 2010;" 2005
- Roger C. Harris; et al.; "The effect of a supplement containing β-alanine on muscle carnosine synthesis, ventilatory threshold and exercise capacity in Korean cyclists, during 12 weeks combined endurance and weight training"
- Hill, CA et al.; Amino Acids; "Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity;" February 2007
- Walter, AA et al.; Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; "Six weeks of high-intensity interval training with and without beta-alanine supplementation for improving cardiovascular fitness in women;" May 2010
- Hipkiss, A.; Experimental Gerontology; "On the enigma of carnosine's anti-ageing actions;" April 2009
- R.C. Harris, et. al; Amino Acids; "The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis;" May 2006
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Oct 15, 2017 Blog Post
Keto Connect Podcast with Mike from PricePlow: Supplements for Keto | Episode #004
Need guidance about supplements for keto dieters? Check out Mike's 2017 Keto Connect podcast interview on "Keto for Normies" with Matt & Megha!
Sep 28, 2017 Blog Post
iSatori Morph Xtreme Brings Energy & PUMPS to iSatori Pre Workouts!
iSatori is jumping back in the headlines after releasing their new monster pre workout Morph Xtreme that's bringing a whole lot of energy and pumps.
Sep 27, 2017 Blog Post
EVL ENGN: Start Your Workout Engine at $0.80/workout!
EVL ENGN is the brand's headlining pre workout that's all about the pumps, focus, and performance.
Aug 17, 2017 Blog Post
EVL BCAA Lean Energy: Energy Aminos for Dieters
EVL BCAA Lean Energy provides a solid 5g dose of 2:1:1 BCAAs plus a host of ingredients to aid fat loss.
Jul 27, 2017 Blog Post
The Ape SH*T Untamed Pre Workout – Go APE on the Weights!
The Ape Shit pre workout is aptly named - from Primeval Labs' Untamed Division that will have you going Ape next time you step in the gym!
Jun 28, 2017 Blog Post
Dymatize Pre W.O. — A Mainstream Pre Workout that DELIVERS!
Dymatize Pre W.O. is a clinically dosed pre workout featuring 125mg of TeaCrine! Dymatize is back and in a serious way, Pre W.O. is loaded!
Jun 15, 2017 Blog Post
Formutech Endurance BCAA+ Re-Launches with New Sweet Tea Flavor
Formutech Endurance BCAA+ is a well-dosed intra workout supplement with several ingredients included to maximize *endurance* and athletic performance.
Jun 06, 2017 Blog Post
iForce SwoleMate – BCAAs with a Performance Boost
iForce SwoleMate is the latest innovation from iForce Nutrition that's much more than another copycat BCAA intra workout supplement.
May 11, 2017 Blog Post
EVL BCAA Energy: The Best Fruit Punch EVER?
BCAA Energy by EVL Nutrition has a full 5g dose! Energy aminos are a dime a dozen, until you taste the Fruit Punch BCAA Energy from EVL Nutrition!
Apr 25, 2017 Blog Post
PreSeries LEAN by Transparent Labs: When to Use Lean vs BULK?
Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean is a pre workout supplement with a few extra fat burning ingredients than the BULK version. We compare on PricePlow!
Apr 21, 2017 Blog Post
MTS Clash Pre Workout (Minus Two Ingredients) by Marc Lobliner
MTS Clash has been upgraded by Marc Lobliner and MTS Nutrition. Check these ingredients out - this new 2017 Clash Formula is loaded!
Mar 22, 2017 Blog Post
MaxQ Nutrition’s Pre-Training Pre Workout is Maxed Out!
MaxQ Nutrition has crafted a true world beater in their Maxed Out Pre Workout which contains everything you'd want to have a Maxed Out workout!
Mar 20, 2017 Blog Post
EVL RecoverMode – Enhanced Recovery
EVL RecoverMode is a beasty post workout and recovery supplement that packs in 10 different ingredients to crush soreness and support muscle growth.
Mar 08, 2017 Blog Post
Genius PRE Workout: Train Smarter AND Harder
Genius Pre is a clinically dosed, stimulant free pre workout that enhances focus but won't leave you feeling bottomed out from a rush of caffeine.
Feb 06, 2017 Blog Post
Nutrex Outlift RTD: Finally a Clinically-Dosed Pre Workout RTD!
Nutrex Research Outlift RTD is the new ultimate on-the-go pre workout supplement in a bottle, the first clinically dosed RTD pre on the market.
Jan 19, 2017 Blog Post
VMI Sports K-XR: High Energy High-Stim Pre Workout
K-XR is the all new high energy, strength boosting pre workout from VMI Sports that is generating quite a buzz in the industry.
Dec 28, 2016 Blog Post
Repp Sports ReactR: Go Nuclear on your Workouts!
Repp Sports is a brand new supplement company that recently burst onto the scene with their DMHA powered pre workout ReactR.
Dec 16, 2016 YouTube Video
Cellucor C4 ULTIMATE Review: The C4 to End All C4's!
Dec 13, 2016 Blog Post
C4 Ultimate: Cellucor’s Pinnacle Pre Workout!
Cellucor C4 Ultimate is the *ultimate* pre workout experience from Cellucor that features a mostly transparent label and well-dosed pump ingredients.
Nov 26, 2016 Blog Post
Jim Stoppani Sued AGAIN. New Class Action Lawsuit
Jim Stoppani has been sued AGAIN. This time, a class action lawsuit was filed in California regarding the ingredient-based claims made by Stoppani.
Oct 04, 2016 Blog Post
Meet the Man Who REALLY Formulated Pre-JYM
Jim Stoppani claims that he formulated Pre-JYM. But do the latest court documents in the lawsuit against them corroborate that? Find out at PricePlow.
Sep 21, 2016 Blog Post
Divided Labs PREVIDE: Serious Pre-Workout.. but at 2 Scoops
Divided Labs PREVIDE is a fantastic-looking pre workout supplement... but at two scoops. The question is, will that be worth it then? PricePlow digs.
Aug 29, 2016 Blog Post
AML Pre Workout: A True Muscular Development Style Pre
Advanced Molecular Labs Pre Workout is a true beast of a pre workout that uses clinical doses of staple ergogenics powered by 400mg of pure caffeine.
Aug 09, 2016 Blog Post
Northbound Nutrition PINNACLE: The Pinnacle of Pre Workouts?
The Pinnacle Pre Workout from Northbound Nutrition is a premium pre workout supplement that combines clinical and transparently dosed ingredients!
May 20, 2016 Blog Post
Transparent Labs PreSeries STIM-FREE: Naturally Heavy Pumps
Transparent Labs PreSeries STIM-FREE is a comprehensive pre workout that offers pumps, focus, endurance, and power all without the use of stimulants.
Apr 15, 2016 Blog Post
Proccor Pre-RX – Workout Enhancement for Focused Athletes
Proccor has upgraded their monster pre workout Pre-Rx and it's the perfect prescription for your workout.
Jan 14, 2016 Blog Post
PreSeries BULK – $49 Pre Workout Has Industry Abuzz…
Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk is a serious pre workout, with efficacious doses of everything you'd want in a pre workout. But is it worth $49?!
Jan 04, 2016 Blog Post
Chaos & Pain Cannibal Ferox: The 2016 Formula
Chaos and Pain is back with yet another reformulation of Cannibal Ferox. AMP Citrate is gone, but there's still plenty of stims to get you going.
Dec 21, 2015 Blog Post
NutraBio Intra Blast: Premium Workout Fuel Beyond BCAAs
Intra Blast is a fully loaded BCAA / EAA drink from NutraBio that not only enhances your performance but also speeds recovery. Orange Mango is great!
Dec 09, 2015 Blog Post
iForce Finish Line: Anytime, Anywhere Gains “Post Workout”
iForce Nutrition Finish Line is the recently unveiled post workout that contains everything you want to speed recovery and full gains all day long.
Oct 24, 2015 Blog Post
Ubervita W700: The Amazon Rip of the Century
The Ubervita W700 has incredible reviews and rankings on Amazon, but something smells VERY fishy with this product. We analyze the W700 ingredients.
Oct 06, 2015 Blog Post
APS Mesomorph: Powerhouse Pre Workout Reformulated
APS Mesomorph from APS Nutrition is a high-energy, focus heavy pre workout! Hang on for the ride at 3/4 scoop!
Sep 23, 2015 Blog Post
MuscleSport Rhino Black – High Energy & Pump Pre Workout
Rhino Black is the newest high energy, pump-centric workout from MuscleSport specifically tailored to give razor focus and skin-splitting pumps!
Aug 28, 2015 Blog Post
Labrada Super Charge: New 2015 Version!
Labrada Super Charge is the new 2015 version of their popular pre workout Super Charge. It packs a TON of great ingredients all at effective doses.
Aug 18, 2015 Blog Post
Magnum OPUS: Intra Workout pHuel with a New Flavor
Magnum OPUS has a new flavor out, so we dig into what makes this supplement tick with our Magnum Opus ingredient analysis! Check out creamsicle!
May 27, 2015 Blog Post
Magnum Limitless: New Pre-Workout Focusing on FOCUS
Magnum Limitless is the new pre workout supplement coming in June. We don't know much about the Limitless ingredients yet, but we're guessing FOCUS!
Apr 08, 2015 Blog Post
Cellucor C4 Mass – A Bulker’s C4.. with FIBER?!
Cellucor C4 Mass is the new version of the C4 pre workout supplement that's stimulant-free, and hopefully bring gains to bulkers to build muscle!
Mar 31, 2015 Blog Post
Altius Pre-Workout by Jacked Factory: Go Strong All Day Long
The Altius Pre Workout by Jacked Factory is an Amazon product that is absolutely LOADED and has tons of great reviews. We analyze the ingredients.
Feb 25, 2015 Blog Post
Performix Ion – What’s All the Hype About?
Performix Ion is a pre workout supplement with new delivery technology: Terra Beads. But with underdosed creatine / muscle-builders, is it worth it?
Feb 24, 2015 Blog Post
Maximum Shred SCAM – $87 Product with $4 of Ingredients
Maximum Shred is a supplement that is not only overpriced, it's maliciously marketed. We expose this scam and analyze the Maximum Shred ingredients.
Feb 18, 2015 Blog Post
Rich Piana 5% KILL IT Pre Workout – Does it Kill?
Rich Piana's KILL IT Pre Workout Supplement from 5% Nutrition looks to have some decent energy and pumps, but there's some confusion to figure out..
Feb 12, 2015 Blog Post
SAN MegaTron – Stim-Free Supplement as Good as its Name
SAN MegaTron is a stimulant-free pre workout supplement that has exciting doses of both nitric oxide boosters AND focus enhancers. And what a name!
Feb 10, 2015 Blog Post
MusclePharm Wreckage – Likely to Live Up to its Name
MusclePharm Wreckage is the new hardcore pre workout that has an open ingredients formula and is nearly guaranteed to give you AGGRESSIVE workouts!
Oct 29, 2014 Blog Post
Gold Standard Pre-Workout is Here from Optimum Nutrition!
Gold Standard Pre Workout is now out from Optimum Nutrition! We have the first major analysis on the ON Gold Standard Pre ingredients here!
Apr 12, 2014 Blog Post
Cellucor C4 Ripped – The Fat Burning Pre Workout?!
Cellucor C4 Ripped is the new C4 variation that includes more fat burning ingredients and no creatine for a killer cardio or weight loss workout!
Jul 14, 2009 Blog Post
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