Beta Alanine Increase Endurance Muscle Gain

Beta-alanine supplementation dramatically increases endurance, may also increase power

Beta-alanine-article- science-performance-athletic-Female-Box-Jumps

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is produced naturally in the body. The ingestion of beta-alanine, the rate-limiting precursor of carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine), has been shown to elevate the concentration of carnosine in muscles [1], decrease fatigue and increase total muscular work done. [2,3] Beta-alanine supplements are claimed to boost the production of carnosine and, in turn, boost athletic performance.

Recommended Dose

Studies that evaluate beta-alanine for improved athletic performance generally use 3 to 6 g daily doses for at least a month. However, doses up to 12 g daily are used especially to reduce inflammation after intense physical and mental stress. Manufacturers typically recommend doses from 2-8 g daily, spitting into even doses of 2 grams throughout the day.

Beta-Alanine for Exercise Performance

Beta-alanine by itself appears to have very limited ergogenic properties. However, when it is absorbed into the skeletal muscle it combines with histidine to form carnosine. It is carnosine which appears to provide the ergogenic benefit observed in studies [12]. Carnosine maintains of acid-base homeostasis through enhanced intra-muscular hydrogen ion (H+) buffering capacity [18].

Hoffman J. et al. [4] examined the effect of 30 days of beta-alanine supplementation (4.8 g per day) on resistance exercise performance and endocrine changes were examined in eight experienced resistance-trained men. At the end of 4 weeks of supplementation, a 22 % (p < 0.05) difference in a total number of repetitions performed was seen between beta-alanine and placebo. So, the study concluded that beta-alanine supplementation can significantly improve muscular endurance during resistance training in experienced resistance-trained athletes. No hormonal output differences were noticed between groups. A study in elite soldiers demonstrated that 4 weeks of beta-alanine supplementation during an intense military training period was effective in enhancing lower-body jump power and shooting accuracy [12]. Kim et al.[5] noted significantly greater increases in total work done by highly trained cyclists after a 12-week beta-alanine supplementation compared to training only. In addition, beta-alanine appears to support a significant increase in total work done in trained as well as untrained population [3]. Stout et al. [6] conducted a study that examined the effects of twenty-eight days beta-alanine supplementation on physical working capacity at fatigue threshold. The findings suggested that beta-alanine supplementation may delay the onset of neuromuscular fatigue. In sixteen untrained collegiate females, 3,4 g of beta-alanine daily for 8 weeks was found to give rise to a larger number of leg press repetitions executed with a load equivalent to 65% of the individual’s one-repetition maximum (1RM) [20]. Maté-Muñoz, et al. [21] were the first to evaluate the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on power output (force and velocity). They reported that 5 weeks of supplementation with 6.4 g/day of beta-alanine compared with placebo during strength training led to increases in power output for loads equivalent to 1RM, kilograms lifted at 1RM, power output gains at maximum power, the number of sets executed and the pre-post gain in kilograms lifted at 1RM in an incremental load test.

There are studies that show no performance benefits [7,8]. However, results from 2012 meta-analysis [15] reported that beta-alanine supplementation elicits a significant ergogenic effect on high-intensity exercise, particularly in exercise capacity tests and measures, and where the exercise lasts between 1 and 4 min. It is even described as class A supplement based on the level of evidence shown for its beneficial effects on sport performance by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) [19].

There are some concerns that beta-alanine and taurine may counteract each other, however, to date there is no human data to support taurine decreases with beta-alanine supplementation.

Other Benefits


In twenty soldiers (20.1 6 0.6 years) from an elite combat unit, a high-dose of 12 g/day beta-alanine for 7 days, between 2 intensive periods of navigational training and restricted sleep, enhanced the anti-inflammatory response [11].

Cognitive Performance

Because carnosine is located in other excitable tissues other than skeletal muscle (such as the brain and heart), it may also have additional physiological roles [12].

Recently beta-alanine has been investigated as a potential therapeutic intervention after intense physical and mental stress. Studies in soldiers have demonstrated the efficacy of 30 days of beta-alanine supplementation on improved performance and cognitive function [12,13] and also combat-specific performance [14]. Some further limited evidence has recently been presented suggesting that beta-alanine supplementation may enhance cognitive function and promote resiliency during highly stressful situations [14]. These results are believed to be related to the role that elevated muscle carnosine levels have on enhancing muscle buffering capacity and in its potential role as an antioxidant [11]. It has also been suggested that elevations in carnosine may play a role in cognitive function, however, this needs further research [14].

Synergetic Effect with Other Nutrients

Superstack: Beta-alanine and Creatine

Creatine supplementation alone has been shown to reduce fatigue in anaerobic exercise [16] thus beta-alanine supplementation may further reduce the rate of fatigue in muscles.

Hoffman, J. R. et al [17] examined the effects of creatine and creatine plus beta-alanine on strength, power, body composition, and endocrine changes. Thirty-three male underwent a 10-week resistance training program and was randomly assigned to either a placebo (P – 10.5 g/day of dextrose), creatine (C – 10.5 g/day ), or creatine plus beta-alanine (CA – 10.5 g/day creatine monohydrate and 3.2 g/day of beta-alanine) group. Lean body mass and body fat percentage changes were greater in CA group compared to C or P group. Strength improvements were greater in CA and C groups.

Creatine with beta-alanine appeared to have the greatest effect on lean tissue increase and body fat composition.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Studies are reporting that sodium bicarbonate supplementation enables execution of a greater training volume. It has also been reported that sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine have a synergistic effect that is not observed with each supplement alone. It is suggested that sodium bicarbonate might potentiate the effects of b-alanine by increasing training volume which promotes further adaptations with regards to strength training [21].

Beta-Alanine Side Effects and Risks

Paresthesia (sensation of tickling) is to date the only side effect from oral b-alanine ingestion [9]. The severity and duration of paresthesia is dose-dependent. According to [10]: “Beta-alanine may interact with some heart medications and with drugs for erectile dysfunction. And its safety has not been established for children, people with particular diseases or conditions, or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

(Other common names: Beta-alanine Ethyl Ester, Beta-amino Acid, 3-aminopropanoic acid, 3-aminopropionic Acid, b-Ala, B-alanine, β-alanine)


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