Beta-alanine is one of the most popular, best-researched gym performance supplements.
It’s the ingredient that’s famous for causing the “tingly” feeling that pre-workout supplements often give you.
So you may already know what beta-alanine feels like. We’re here to tell you what it actually does and to share the top products on the market.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid.
Unlike most amino acids, it’s not used to synthesize proteins. Instead, with the help of histidine, it’s used to produce carnosine, which is then stored in your skeletal muscles.
Carnosine is important for reducing the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles during training. Lactic acid is what gives our muscles “the burn” and by delaying it we can improve our performance in the gym.
In our muscles at any given time, histidine levels are normally higher than beta-alanine levels, which limits your body’s ability to produce carnosine (1). Supplementing beta-alanine has been shown to increase carnosine levels in the muscles by 80% (2).
Because of this huge increase in carnosine in the muscles, your body’s natural ability to push through fatigue becomes that much stronger and allows you to push through training barriers unlike before.
You may be asking yourself, isn’t beta-alanine in most pre-workouts? The answer to that question is yes! Beta-alanine is found in nearly all pre-workout formulas, except if you specifically look for one without it (not a fan of the tingles).
If you’re looking to tailor your pre-workout stack to make it more personalized, you may like the pure beta-alanine powders. You can stack beta-alanine with creatine, BCAAs, and even pre-workout to get an additional beta-alanine kick.
It truly depends on your personal preference, what your performance goals are and how precise you want to get with your supplements. Both pure beta-alanine and pre-workout are great options for people looking to improve focus, and athletic performance and fight off fatigue during their workouts.
Studies show that beta-alanine helps increase your time to exhaustion by aiding in the production of carnosine in the muscles. This allows you to fight off muscle fatigue a little longer, and push a little harder.
A study found that cyclists supplementing with beta-alanine for four weeks increased their total work completed by 13%, and continued to increase an additional 3.2% after 10 weeks. (3)
Another study looking at elderly men and women found that after 90 days of beta-alanine supplementation, the physical working capacity at the fatigue threshold was 28.6% higher in the treatment group in comparison to the placebo. (4)
So not only are the performance enhancements happening in younger athletes, but research shows that beta-alanine can be used at any age to improve overall work capacity and reduce fatigue during workouts.
The build-up of lactic acid in the muscles in general is the limiting factor when it comes to high-intensity exercise.
In humans, higher carnosine levels through beta-alanine supplementation have been shown to increase exercise performance and capacity, especially in the high-intensity range of 1-4 mins. (5)
One study concluded that after only 6 weeks of taking beta-alanine, there was a significant increase in the VO2 max and the total time to exhaustion increased by a huge 19% during HIIT. (6)
Another study looking at more mid-range training found that 18 rowers who supplemented for 6 weeks were 4.3 seconds faster in a 2000m race (6 minutes) compared to the placebo (7). This further proves, that not only is beta-alanine beneficial for higher intensity, short duration exercise but also plays a role in improving exercise performance in longer bouts of work.
The key to beta-alanine is carnosine. When you supplement with beta-alanine, this increases the levels of carnosine which has been shown to have some antioxidant, anti-aging, and immune support properties.
Specifically looking at the antioxidant properties, carnosine plays a role in neutralizing free-radical and reducing oxidative stress on the body. (8) Oxidative stress doesn’t allow the body to function and detoxify properly and as such can lead to many different diseases slowly take root.
If you’ve ever been working out and you feel the burn, you can thank lactic acid. Although it serves many important functions to the muscles, it can very much be an inhibiting factor to pushing harder in your workouts.
The additional carnosine in the muscles from beta-alanine supplementation help to buffer the lactic acid and allow you to work harder and longer before you get the burning sensation.
Now that we covered an entire science lesson, here are the best beta-alanine supplements currently on the market.
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Beta-Alanine Orotic Acid Complex by Morphogen takes the top spot on our list for the best all-around beta-alanine powder
This supplement is perfectly dosed at 3.2 grams of beta-alanine per serving. In addition to the star ingredient, Morphogen has included orotic acid in its recipe.
Orotic acid actually turns into beta-alanine and acts as a powerful buffering agent to delay the onset of fatigue and help boost performance in athletes by preventing the build-up of lactic acid. The addition of orotic acid will further boost the benefits giving you the ultimate formula.
You won’t have to worry about quality with this product.
Morphogen Nutrition prides itself on having transparent labels. As such, their beta-alanine product is manufactured in the USA, made in a GMP and FDA-certified facility, and all ingredients are lab tested for purity and safety.
This top-tier formula is unflavored so it works with any other powders you may have or just by itself. It’s also a great deal.
For the most effective, scientifically-dosed beta-alanine powder Morphogen Beta-Alanine Orotic Acid Complex, is our #1 pick.
This 200g container gives you 100, 2000mg servings of beta-alanine. PrimaForce uses pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, that have been clinically tested to ensure you’re getting the best.
They recommend taking 1-2 servings before your workouts and even recommend for optimal results taking the same servings between meals.
Another capsule formula, NOW nutrition’s beta-alanine provides your body with the essentials it requires to fight off fatigue. The capsule delivery system again gives users the convenience factor when using this product.
If you’re looking for convenience, the NOW Sports beta-alanine might be for you. This capsule delivery system makes this product easily used anywhere without worrying about having a bottle and mixing your powder with water.
You’ll receive 120 capsules per bottle which will get you 40, 2250mg servings of top-quality beta-alanine.
Pure Bulk Supplements beta-alanine is another super pure supplement with just that one singular ingredient. Pure Bulk looks to provide popular gym supplements at a lower cost, made possible by simple formulas and bulk purchases.
If you know pure beta-alanine powder is what you want, Bulk Supplements can give it to you in bags starting at just 50 grams up into the kilograms.
GAT Beta-Alanine is another pure, single-ingredient powder, that gives you 3g of beta-alanine per serving. It comes unflavoured which makes it easy to mix in a pre-workout or BCAA powder of your choosing. It includes Carnosyn, which is a patented, quality form of beta-alanine.
You get a whopping 100 – 167 servings per container.
Optimum Nutrition’s Beta-Alanine powder is a clean, non-artificial formula that packs a punch in the recovery realm with the addition of histidine and other minerals. L-histidine is an amino acid that is used in the growth, and repair of damaged tissues and making blood cells – clearly important when trying to maximize your efforts in the gym
Per serving you get that sweet spot 3200mg of beta-alanine dose with 1100mg of histidine and 30mg of magnesium. In one container you get 75 servings, which for the price is nearly unrivaled.
Optimum Nutrition is a tried and true company in the supplement world, and its pure beta-alanine powder sits up there with some of its top products.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one formula, pre-workout might be the way to go. It will give you all the benefits of beta-alanine and that little extra push you may be looking for before your workout, wrapped up in one.
Here are some top-notch pre-workout formulations with a BIG beta-alanine punch.
Pre-Kaged Elite is the pre-workout for serious lifters. Really, it’s like a hardcore pre-workout and a cognitive-enhancement supplement all wrapped into one. With 3200mg of beta-alanine per scoop (and over a dozen over-quality ingredients), this is a pre that will all but guarantee an intensity you haven’t felt from a pre-workout.
Even though this is a pre-workout, the BULK formula contains more beta-alanine, 4000mg, than most pure beta-alanine products on the market.
More pricey for sure, however, you’re getting so much more per serving than just a strict beta-alanine product. A fantastic choice for anyone looking to simplify their pre-workout routine.
The downside to these “hardcore’ pre-workouts is that they usually contain a ton of stimulants. For other options, you can check out our guides on the best stim-free pre-workouts and the best pre-workouts for beginners.
If you’re looking for a plant-based Pre, you can also check out our guide on the best vegan pre-workouts.
Yes, the ranking is done, but we always want to make sure our customers understand how we go about choosing our products and how much research goes into providing you with the best information.
The recommended dosage for beta-alanine per day is between 2 and 4 grams per day. Most of the supplements on our list sit in the middle of this range with some at either end of the spectrum to allow for flexibility.
There are literally millions of supplements on the market – which can make it very overwhelming for the consumer. A big part of that is ensuring the product you pick is safe and made with the highest attention to pure ingredients. Every product on this list has gone through strict testing to ensure you are getting exactly what the label tells you.
We understand that buying supplements to improve your performance can be expensive. Keeping that in mind, we’ve found the best products at a variety of price points to cater to everyone’s budgets while maintaining high-quality formulations.
Yes absolutely. The most important thing is to take beta-alanine every day, even when you aren’t working out. The concentration of carnosine in the muscle builds up over time and this can only occur if the supplementation happens daily and consistently.
Both beta-alanine and BCAAs improve muscular endurance and workout capacity. The biggest difference between beta-alanine and BCAAs is that beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid while BCAAs are essential meaning you need to get them from food.
So, it would be more beneficial to actually take the two supplements together rather than taking one or the other.
Beta-alanine is not a stimulant. As such, it’s a great alternative to pre-workouts that contain caffeine while still giving you performance benefits.
Beta-alanine has a very wide-known and harmless side effect: the tingles (or paresthesia for the science nerds out there). It’s a temporary itching/tingling sensation of the skin typically on or around the neck, face, shoulders, arms, or hands.
If you’ve experienced this from pre-workout, beta-alanine was responsible.