Beta-alanine is one of the most popular dietary supplements among strength athletes. Almost every athlete should have come into contact with it at some point. No wonder, after all, it has been well researched and is one of the few harmless supplements with a proven, direct performance-enhancing effect.
You may be familiar with beta-alanine as an ingredient in many training boosters . It is very common there and is responsible, among other things, for the tingling sensation that sometimes occurs. Isolated intake is less common. However, some athletes use beta-alanine quite specifically.
In this article I would like to introduce you to the effects and possible side effects of taking beta-alanine. You should also learn how to really consume it so that you can achieve the best possible results. For this I have divided the article into sections in which you will learn
- What effects you can expect from beta-alanine
- The possible side effects of taking beta-alanine
- How to properly consume beta-alanine
- Which beta-alanine product is right for you
If you have read this article you should know everything to be able to decide for yourself whether it makes sense for you to take it. You then know everything that is necessary to use beta-alanine effectively to support your training or to be able to make a conscious decision against it.
About the effects of beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is a beta-amino acid and a so-called biogenic amine. In recent years it has been increasingly examined for its effect on increasing athletic performance and building muscle.
The decisive, well-known effect of long-term beta-alanine intake is that it increases the carnosine level in the muscles. This leads to a delayed change in the pH value in the muscle. The muscle therefore takes longer to become hyperacid. This leads to increased muscle endurance in the medium performance range. In this area, with long-term use of beta-alanine, you can achieve more repetitions with the same weight. With the increased training volume, you can set greater growth stimulus and build more muscle mass .
The greatest effect is in the performance area of strength endurance . So you can e.g. As a runner, expect a noticeable increase in middle-distance mileage due to increased carnosine levels. The effect on classic hypertrophy training is less but also present.
By the way, it can be assumed that beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate in combination have a greater effect on muscle performance than individually. This is probably (mainly) because the two substances start at different points in the energy supply process of the muscles. In combination, this strengthens the entire chain. However, I actually only found one meaningful study on this.
Also not to be underestimated is the psychological effect of taking it before training. The tingling sensation that many people experience (more on this in the section on side effects) has a positive effect on training motivation for some people.
There is also evidence that regular intake contributes to reduced muscle loss in old age. Regular strength training and a protein-rich diet ( avoid protein deficiency !), However, play a significantly larger role here.
Possible side effects of taking beta-alanine
In fact, there isn’t much to be said about the side effects of beta-alanine. Ultimately, it is an amino acid and there are no known reasons for its ingestion. Of course, the dose certainly makes the poison here too and I advise you to stick to the recommendation below for taking it.
The only known side effect of beta-alanine is a tingling sensation, which can be caused under the skin. This tingling sensation is absolutely harmless. It is triggered by a reaction of the nerve endings to the unusually high concentration of the amino acid in the blood and disappears again after about 30 minutes.
If you are uncomfortable with the tingling sensation, you can avoid it by only taking smaller doses.
However, there are also people who react to large amounts of beta-alanine with an intolerance. If you get a very itchy rash after taking it, I would advise against taking it again.
The correct beta alanine intake
Based on current research, a daily dose of between two and five grams leads to optimal, performance-enhancing results. The time of taking does not matter. Personally, I take two grams right after waking up, along with my five grams of creatine every day and my Omega 3 fish oil capsules .
On training days I skip the beta-alanine in the morning when I can foresee that I will take a Pre Workout Booster with beta-alanine with me before training. I personally like the tingling sensation. I think that’s a bit like the proverbial bumblebee in the ass.
Incidentally, if you want to consume this amount (two grams) of beta-alanine in your daily diet, you would have to consume a little over a kilo of beef or pork. Vegetarians and vegans do not consume beta-alanine in their diet.
Which beta-alanine product is right for you?
I don’t have a preferred manufacturer of beta alanine. Ultimately, the same quality criteria apply here as I use when choosing other dietary supplements:
- Raw material as pure as possible (no unnecessary additives such as silicon dioxide)
- Manufacturer with a good reputation for high product quality
- Ideally raw material and product from European, better German manufacture
If it doesn’t say Made in Germany, the raw material usually comes from China. Even if the quality of Chinese products is sometimes very good nowadays, I prefer to use products made in Germany for food supplements.
I would also always use powder form with beta-alanine. The capsules are significantly more expensive and the powder is practically tasteless and can be easily mixed in anywhere.
Your conclusion on the intake and effects of beta-alanine
If you do strength training or run middle distance regularly, taking 2-5 grams of beta-alanine a day can be useful for you. The intake is absolutely harmless and if the tingling bothers you can divide the intake into several small portions.
A combination with creatine monohydrate is most likely synergetically particularly useful. Since both make sense in and of themselves, nothing speaks against it.