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Beta-alanine Boosts Muscle and Workout Performance. Is It Worth It?

Beta-alanine Boosts Muscle and Workout Performance. Is It Worth It?

  • Beta-alanine is popular with fitness gurus as a way to help your muscles squeeze out an extra rep or add more weight to your sets.
  • Beta-alanine combines with histidine to make another amino acid, carnosine, which adds strength to your muscle contractions and delays muscle fatigue
  • This article goes into everything you need to know about beta-alanine, who will benefit from taking it, and how to use it.

Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or you’re ready to level up your results, it’s only a matter of time before exercise supplements come onto your radar. Once you go beyond the basic proteins and hydration drinks, you’ll start looking into supplements that are more targeted to your goals.

Beta-alanine is popular with fitness gurus as a way to help your muscles squeeze out an extra rep or add more weight to your sets. But does it work? This article goes into everything you need to know about beta-alanine, who will benefit from taking it, and how to use it.

What is beta-alanine and what does it do?

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that doesn’t do much for your body on its own. It gets its superpowers when it binds with histidine, another amino acid. The two combined make another amino acid, carnosine, which adds strength to your muscle contractions and delays muscle fatigue.[1]

Histidine levels in your body are typically on the high side, and your levels of beta-alanine are typically low. You can only make as much carnosine as your beta-alanine levels allow. So, if you take beta-alanine, your body can make more carnosine. The carnosine that you don’t use gets stored in muscles for workouts to come.[2]

Beta-alanine improves exercise performance

Athletes and fitness fans use beta-alanine to improve overall exercise performance.[3][4][5] Supplementing with beta-alanine before a workout improves sprint performance,[6] high-intensity exercise,[7][8] and strength performance.[9] Beta-alanine acts specifically on muscle metabolism, making your use of energy more efficient.[10]

Beta-alanine reduces recovery time

Carnosine reduces lactic acid — the chemical that builds up when you exert your muscles and makes them feel sore. Since beta-alanine allows your body to make more carnosine, it in turn reduces lactic acid buildup in your muscles during and after exercise. That leads to improved athletic performance in the moment and quicker recovery after a tough workout.[11][12]

Beta-alanine supercharges creatine

People use creatine to increase the intensity of their workouts — it helps your muscle cells produce energy. That means, more weight, more reps, more gains in less time. Studies show beta-alanine used in conjunction with creatine helps you push a little further and delays muscle fatigue.[13][14]

Creatine isn’t just for muscles. You can read more about the full-body benefits of creatine here.

Suggested beta-alanine dosage and when to take beta-alanine

Exercise days: Start with 1 gram, and work your way up to 2 grams before working out. Some people add another gram or two after a workout, but that’s up to you and your fitness level.

Rest days: 2 grams in the morning, with creatine

For more information on exercise supplements, you can read this article on the top workout supplements and which ones will help you reach your goals.

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