Beta alanine is an amino acid that you can take in supplement form to 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.
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, especially if it involves short bursts of anaerobic activity.
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.
Just watch when you use it; the caffeine and the other energy-boosting supplements will pump you up for a late night workout, but you might not be able to fall asleep later.
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. Each capsule only contains 400 mg of beta alanine, which is barely more than half what you can get from other brands.
It does include L-Histidine, which not all other pill based beta alanine supplements have, but all in all, there are better options out there on every front.
Beta alanine benefits and side effects
Beta-alanine, also known carnosine precursor, is a type of non-essential amino acid that gets converted into a molecule called carnosine. Carnosine then acts as a buffer acid into the muscles that helps increase stamina, muscle development and physical performance in the range of 60 to 240 seconds.
Carnosine is basically stored in the cells and it is released when the PH level drops in the body. It acts to counter the rising acidity in your muscles during high intensity exercise, and as such you can improve your performance by boosting the concentration of beta alanine inside your muscle fibers.
Beta-alanine is not so easily consumed in the diet that we eat regularly like chicken, whey, fish or beef. Therefore, beta-alanine supplementation is required. As it improves physical performance, this supplement can be quite helpful for those for those who engage in endurance exercise and train for long hours in the gym.
This article will provide a detailed understanding of the many health benefits of aeta-alanine supplementation, the recommended dosage and possible side-effects.
The carnosine molecule that beta-alanine converts into buffer H+ ions help slow down the aging process. This effect is backed by various research studies and scientific works. According to studies, carnosine from beta-alanine acts like resveratrol. This molecule is known to protect the heart and improve blood flow in the body. Also, it has been observed that muscle carnosine concentration drops up to 45 percent during the aging process (1, 2) . This suggests that increasing carnosine stores in the body can slow down the aging process.
Other research studies conducted on beta-alanine suggest that carnosine lowers the cellular aging rate in cultured-fibroblasts. Thus, the anti-aging effect can be due to this molecule’s ability to lower telomere shortening in cultured-fibroblasts (3).
Telomeres are strands of DNA that help prevent aging when your cells divide and multiply. As they get shorter, your biological age increases, and you start to appear and feel older. Decreasing the rate at which your telomeres shrink could have longevity-boosting effects, though this is yet to be confirmed in humans.
Carnosine made through beta-alanine has been found to have neurological antioxidant effects. Beta-alanine can moderate several neurological actions by taurine’s competitive inhibition. This is because both taurine and beta-alanine compete with each other for the same transporter to enter the brain. Just like taurine, beta-alanine acts via GABA receptors and glycine.
Besides this, when converted to carnosine, beta-alanine has shown to support antioxidant enzyme structures Cu/ZnSOD (Superoxide Dismutase). It reduces the aggregation of oxidized proteins in neural tissues, thereby supporting motor function in people suffering from mental disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (4).
Research studies on beta-alanine have shown that its supplementation can increase muscle carnosine concentrations in the body that ultimately boost the ability to perform high intensity or endurance exercise (5).
Raised muscle carnosine levels help reduce fatigue and build the stamina required to perform activities like jumping, sprinting and weightlifting for long hours. Carnosine facilitates buffering capacity of hydrogen ions which accumulate during rigorous or intense exercise (6).
If you can delay the buildup of hydrogen ions, you delay the onset of acidosis, the “burning” feeling you get after a tough effort. This means that beta alanine can help you run faster, lift more, and push harder in your next workout.
In addition to this, the improved endurance exercise advantage through beta-alanine supplementation can be attributed to the fact that the muscle carnosine concentration increase also delays the onset of blood-lactate accumulation. A study showed that beta-alanine supplementation over the course of 28 days improved running performance in athletes as it helped in slowing down the negative effects relate to blood-lactate building in the bodies of athletes (7).
Other scientific research studies conducted on beta-alanine have proved that the increase in carnosine concentration due to beta-alanine supplementation can increase muscle mass by 20 to 80 percent as compared to high intensity interval training alone (8).
Intake of beta-alanine supplements daily for at least 30 days can significantly increase strength. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Medicine showed that athletes who took beta-alanine supplement for a month completed 22% more squats at 70% of their one rep max primarily because they had greater mean power that resulted from loading up on amino acids.
Large doses of beta-alanine supplements can result in parasthesia. Parasthesia is a condition that is accompanied with uncomfortable tingling or prickling feeling on the skin that commonly people experience on the face, chest, and abdomen. Besides this, over dose of beta-alanine supplement can also lead to itching and burning feeling in the ears or on the scalp. Studies have shown that doses of beta-alanine greater than 800mg pre-workout can cause mild to acute parasthesia that may last for an hour or sometimes even 90 minutes.
To avoid this side effect, use the time release formulation or take smaller doses of beta-alanine around 0.8 to 1g in a day. This will allow you to reach the optimal dosage levels without getting the negative side effects that can result from taking large doses at once.
As beta-alanine acts as a quick stimulant, consuming it pre-workout is a good idea. The benefits of aeta-alanine related to performance are largely based on the increased concentration of muscle carnosine over time. Hence the time of day doesn’t really matter as long as an athlete consistently consumes beta-alanine daily. The standard every dose of beta-alanine is approximately 3 to 5 g spread over 2 to 3 doses in a day for first 6 days.
However, as you move to the maintenance phase, 3g divided in 3 doses daily is enough. This is primarily because carnosine concentration in the body builds up with regular supplementation. However, it also drops by 2% in every 2 weeks in case the supplementation is stopped.
Also called b-alanine and carnosine precursor, beta-alanine is a supplement that can be best described as one of the types of non-essential amino acids. When this supplement is consumed, it gets converted into carnosine which is a molecule that quickly buffers acid into the muscles 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.
The standard dosage of beta-alanine is 3 to 5g spread over two to three doses in a day. Large doses of beta-alanine have shown side effects resulting in an uncomfortable tingling feeling on the skin— a condition that is known as parasthesia.