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Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is the building block of carnosine, a molecule that helps buffer acid in muscles, increasing physical performance in the 60–240-second range. Beta-alanine can aid lean-mass gain. Carnosine appears to be an antioxidant and anti-aging compound.

Our evidence-based analysis on beta-alanine features 136 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Beta-Alanine

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Beta-alanine is a modified version of the amino acid alanine.

Beta-alanine has been shown to enhance muscular endurance. Many people report being able to perform one or two additional reps in the gym when training in sets of 8–15 repetitions. Beta-alanine supplementation can also improve moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance, like rowing or sprinting.

When beta-alanine is ingested, it turns into the molecule carnosine, which acts as an acid buffer in the body. Carnosine is stored in cells and released in response to drops in pH. Increased stores of carnosine can protect against diet-induced drops in pH (which might occur from ketone production in ketosis, for example), as well as offer protection from exercise-induced lactic acid production.

Large doses of beta-alanine may cause a tingling feeling called paresthesia. It is a harmless side effect.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Standard daily dose: 2–5 g.

While beta-alanine is a popular ingredient in pre-workout stacks, supplementation is actually not timing-dependent.

Large doses of beta-alanine may result in a tingling feeling called paresthesia. This harmless side effect can be avoided by using a time-release formulation or by taking smaller doses (0.8–1 g) several times a day.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Beta-Alanine has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Minor Very High See all 8 studies
The lone meta-analysis suggests a small benefit: a median 2.85% increase in muscular endurance when exercising for 60-240 s (usually measured by time to exhaustion).
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
A mildly positive effect, possibly secondary to an increase in muscular endurance and to a reduction in fatigue, rather than being due to any cardiopulmonary interaction.
grade-b Minor High See all 7 studies
Somewhat effective at reducing fatigue and, secondary to that, at improving time to exhaustion.
grade-b - Very High See all 5 studies
No significant effect on acute power output.
grade-b - Moderate See all 5 studies
Effects on VO2 max are highly unreliable and not currently thought significant.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Some studies suggest a fat loss effect, possibly secondary to an increase in workout volume.
grade-c Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Beta-alanine seems to have a hypertrophic effect, either inherently or through greater workload, but this effect does not appear overly potent.
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • One study was excluded due to the confounding effect of creatine.[1]

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Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Beta-Alanine

What beneficial compounds are primarily found in animal products?

Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

b-alanine, β-alanine, carnosine precursor

Do Not Confuse With

L-alanine, L-carnitine

  • If an excess is taken acutely, harmless tingling (paresthesia) will result.

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Click here to see all 136 references.