Beta alanine is an amino acid that you can take in supplement form to substantially improve your workout performance, especially in short, high-intensity anaerobic efforts like HIIT training.
If you want to take your workout intensity and your overall athletic performance, (often mixed with a pre-workout), beta alanine is a good place to start.
Here are the top beta alanine supplements on the market, plus detailed info on how to properly use beta alanine for peak performance.
Last updated: March 28, 2023
Post workout supplements considered: 31
Hours of research: 46
Experts reviewed: 5
Scientific papers referenced: 16
1. Transparent Labs Beta Alanine
Transparent Labs gets the nod here for keeping it simple: pure beta alanine powder without any artificial coloring, no artificial coloring, and no preservatives.
Just mix one scoop (3,000 mg) 15-30 minutes before your workouts for optimal endurance and repetitions in your next workout.
2. BulkSupplements Pure Beta Alanine
When it comes to cheap and pure supplement ingredients, BulkSupplements is the undisputable king. Their half-kilo (500g) beta alanine supplement is about as minimalist as it can get–it’s tested for purity and quality, and comes in a plain white bag.
All the measuring and blending happens on your end, which is great from a customization perspective, but can be a pain if you don’t have a high-quality scale. For DIYers, there is no better choice, but if you want something simple, get a supplement that comes in a pill.
3. NOW Sports Beta Alanine
If all you want is a beta alanine supplement you can take before your workout, without having to hassle with scoops and scales and other ingredients, look no further than NOW Sports.
Each gelatin capsule (sorry, vegans) contains 750 mg of beta alanine and only a minimal amount of binders and stabilizing agents.
4. Optimum Nutrition Beta Alanine
Optimum Nutrition provides a nice middle ground between the ultra-minimal beta alanine supplements that are nothing but pure powder in a bag and a hyper-processed pre-workout supplement.
Optimum Nutrition provides a tub full of beta alanine, mixed with a few micronutrients and L-histidine to help keep your workout performance at its prime.
5. Micro Ingredients Muscle Up Pure Beta Alanine
As another beta alanine supplement that comes in loose powder form, the obvious comparison is to BulkSupplements.
While they are pretty comparable in most respects, the scales tip towards BulkSupplements, simply because that company has a more established record of quality and purity in their supplements. Micro Ingredients is still a fine choice, though.
6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
Though there are a lot of ingredients in Optimum Nutrition’s pre-workout blend, beta alanine is the cornerstone ingredient.
Each scoop provides a hefty 1.5 grams of beta alanine, alongside B vitamins, caffeine, amino acids, and creatine. These work together to provide a robust performance-enhancing effect in your workout.
7. Cellucor C4
This pre-workout blend features beta alanine in a central role, but it’s not the only active ingredient. It’s a great choice if you want beta alanine to work synergistically to boost your workout performance, because it contains an array of B vitamins, creatine nitrate, and caffeine.
8. BSN N.O.-XPLODE
This one’s another in the category of pre-workout blends that incorporate beta alanine’s performance-enhancing properties as a central part of the supplement’s benefits.
However, N.O.-XPLODE has so many ingredients with so many different effects that it drifts towards “kitchen sink” territory. Plenty of people still swear by its results, but it’s not clear if all of the ingredients serve a cohesive purpose.
9. Primaforce Beta Alanine
Primaforce offers a loose powder form of beta alanine, but it doesn’t rank as highly because you only get 200 grams per container.
The quality is good; beta alanine is literally the only ingredient and it’s manufactured in the United States, but if you are going to get bulk powder, in most cases you’d probably want to opt for a 500 gram option.
10. ProLab Beta Alanine Extreme
ProLab makes a capsule-based beta alanine supplement which looks pretty convenient, but it doesn’t live up to expectations in terms of dosage.
Each capsule only contains 400 mg of beta alanine, which is barely more than half what you can get from other brands.
Best beta alanine overall: Transparent Labs Beta Alanine
Transparent Labs Beta Alanine is ultra-pure and easy to use, thanks to the mess-free plastic container. Dosing is easy with the included plastic scoop, making it the simplest and best overall beta alanine supplement on the market.
Best beta alanine for weight lifters: BulkSupplements Pure Beta Alanine
On account of their higher overall muscle mass, weight lifters may need higher doses of beta alanine, or may need a longer or more aggressive “loading period.” To this end, the hefty 500 gram supply of beta alanine from BulkSupplements is a great pick for serious weight lifters.
Best beta alanine for running and sprinting: Optimum Nutrition Beta Alanine
Optimum Nutrition Beta Alanine is perfect for intense running and sprinting, thanks to its combination of beta alanine and L-histidine, which both improve your body’s ability to buffer lactate during maximum-effort exercise.
Best beta alanine for weight loss: Transparent Labs Beta Alanine
For weight loss, beta alanine is best used to fuel you up for high-intensity workout sessions. To that end, you want to keep things simple—that’s why Transparent Labs comes out on top.
Best beta alanine in pill form: Now Sports Beta Alanine
If you don’t want to deal with the mess of mixing up powder, or if you hate the mild but unusual taste of beta alanine, Now Sports is your best option. At 750 mg per capsule, the dosage is remarkably good for a pill-form beta alanine supplement.
Best beta alanine for women: Micro Ingredients Beta Alanine
Women tend to be more susceptible to negative side effects from ingredients found in combined pre-workout / beta alanine supplements, which is why we recommend Micro Ingredients Beta Alanine for women. It’s free from extra ingredients, and the powder form allows you to choose the right dose for your body size.
Who should buy beta alanine?
Beta alanine is a supplement that’s specifically geared towards people training for activities or sports that require a lot of speed or power. For that reason, it’s best-suited for people who fall into one of the following categories:
Athletes who are looking for improved anaerobic performance in short bursts. Beta alanine supports your body’s ability to buffer the acidity generated during short, intense activities like sprinting or weight lifting.
The result? You can produce more power, for longer, when you work out. As a result, beta alanine is quite popular among high-level competitors in sports ranging from football to weight lifting to track and field.
Older adults doing HIIT training. New research is also showing that beta alanine’s benefits aren’t just for high level athletes.
Older adults, both men and women, can benefit substantially from beta alanine supplementation, so if you are doing intense workouts like HIIT training as part of your usual fitness regimen, you can substantially increase your fitness (and the resulting health benefits) by taking a beta alanine supplement on a regular basis.
If anything, less-fit and older adults might benefit more, simply because their muscle carnosine content is likely to be far lower than that of a high level athlete in training.
Weight lifters who want to increase their maximum power. Sprinting and HIIT training is a big target of beta alanine supplementation, but weight training benefits too. Exercises that rely on maximum muscular power, like power cleans, and high-rep sets that push muscles to fatigue, can both benefit from the power and muscular endurance benefits offered by beta alanine.
How we ranked
When formulating our rankings, we considered supplements that provided beta alanine on its own, as well as in combination with other key pre-workout ingredients. We used the following criteria to determine our rankings:
Super high purity, especially for beta alanine-only supplements. Among the supplements whose sole active ingredient was beta alanine, we put a very high premium on purity. Here, powder-based beta alanine supplements easily won out, because most of the pill-based beta alanine supplements on the market, like Now Sports Beta Alanine Endurance and GNC Pro Performance Beta Alanine, had far too many unnecessary fillers and extras.
GNC, for example, crowds out the beta alanine with cellulose, caramel color, titanium dioxide, and vegetable acetoglycerides; Now Sports relies on rice flour, stearic acid, and ascorbyl palmitate to hold their capsules together. Products like this just couldn’t compete with products like Transparent Labs Beta Alanine, which has exactly one ingredient: beta alanine.
Powerful combos with multi-ingredient supplements. When beta alanine was combined with other pre-workout ingredients, we made sure these combinations were oriented towards further boosting performance and creating synergistic interactions between ingredients (for example, by using beta alanine to help you lift more weight, and BCAAs to help you recover faster).
Dosage in line with the latest research. Capsule-based supplements also suffered from a serious dosage problem; with only 500 to 750 mg of beta alanine per capsule, you’d need to gulp down a tremendous amount of pills to get to the recommended three to five grams of beta alanine per day.
Within the combined pre-workout supplements, we first made sure that a given dosage would supply enough beta alanine to make taking the supplement worth it.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a great example of a product that exemplifies this principle; even though it contains solid extras like caffeine, B vitamins, and amino acids, it still provides 1.5 grams of beta alanine per serving.
On the other hand, products like RedLeaf Pre-Workout Energizer didn’t make the cut. It’s less than 20% beta alanine by weight, which makes it just too difficult to properly load up on beta alanine without overloading on other ingredients.
Clean supplement formulation. With these multi-ingredient beta alanine supplements, the inclusion of artificial flavoring and coloring agents was another obstacle that resulted in many products not making the final rankings.
While we didn’t totally exclude artificially colored and flavored products, we tipped the scales towards those with at least some natural flavoring and coloring agents.
The final rankings are a combination of the best pure beta alanine supplements and the best multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements that include enough beta alanine to obtain the research-backed benefits. The pure beta alanine supplements mostly came out on top, because they’ve got the most research backing their benefits.
Q: Is beta alanine good for building muscle?
A: While beta alanine is a powerful performance enhancer, it doesn’t actually increase muscle volume. Since beta alanine improves sprint performance, and high-rep lifting performance as well, many people assume that beta alanine must increase muscular strength.
This is a common misconception, though; what beta alanine actually does is increase the levels of a compound called carnosine in your muscles. Carnosine helps buffer the acidity generated when you work out at a very intense effort, which allows you to sustain a hard effort for longer.
Q: Is beta alanine the same thing as pre-workout?
A: Beta alanine is one potential ingredient in a pre-workout supplement, but it’s far from the only option.
Many high-quality pre-workout supplements include beta alanine prominently (including all of the pre-workout supplements in our rankings above), but they also include other ingredients like taurine, caffeine, and B complex vitamins. You can definitely use beta alanine by itself as a pre-workout supplement, but you won’t get quite the same boost in performance that you’d get with a dedicated pre-workout supplement.
Nevertheless, if you want to capitalize on the long-term benefits of beta alanine supplementation, taking a pre-workout supplement with a substantial amount of beta alanine is a good idea.
Q: What do creatine and beta alanine do?
A: Creatine and beta alanine can be a powerful combination of supplements for athletes, because they both influence the ability of your anaerobic energy systems to produce energy.
Creatine is good for building muscle, but it also enhances the performance of your creatine phosphate energy system, which can provide between eight and ten seconds of energy during an all-out effort like a sprint.
The creatine phosphate energy system is great because it doesn’t generate any lactate; after ten seconds or so, you’ll be pumping out a lot of acidity to maintain a hard effort.
At this point, the benefits of beta alanine start to kick in. So, by supplementing with both creatine and beta alanine, you’ll augment your performance at both very short and medium-length hard efforts. These two supplements are an excellent combination for high-level athletes.
Q: Is it better to take beta alanine pills or powder?
A: For most users, we recommend beta alanine powder, for three reasons.
First, beta alanine powder is more pure, since it does not need the same number of binders, fillers, and stabilizing agents that you find in capsules.
Second, it’s easier to adjust your dosage or to spread it out throughout the day more effectively with a powder versus with capsules.
Third, it’s easier to incorporate beta alanine into your pre-workout shake or smoothie when it’s in powder form, which is nice if you already have a supplement stack you’re using and just want to add beta alanine to it.
Capsule form beta alanine is better if you want beta alanine in combination with other supplements, or if you are traveling or on the go and don’t want to deal with the mess of powders.
- Pre-workout supplement
- Pre-workout supplements for women
- Intra-workout supplement
- Post-workout supplement
Beta alanine is a supplement that is a potent ergogenic aid for speed and power-based sports. It boosts levels of intramuscular carnosine, thereby increasing stamina, promoting muscle development, and improving physical performance.
Other benefits include anti-aging properties and improved motor function in patients suffering from mental disorders.
Large doses of beta alanine have shown side effects resulting in an uncomfortable tingling feeling on the skin— a condition that is known as paresthesia, but this can be avoided by breaking up your beta alanine into smaller doses taken throughout the day.
When it comes to supplements to boost speed and power, beta alanine is one of the best thanks to its direct ability to delay intramuscular fatigue.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 beta alanine recommendation, click here.