What Does Beta Alanine Do? A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide For You

Nikhil Goswami
Amino Acid Alanine

According to Human Kinetics, 40% to 100% of athletes and fitness enthusiasts use supplements. In that way, they keep up with the daily high-intensity exercise and reduce muscle fatigue. One such supplement is beta-alanine, which is reliable for better exercise performance and halts the aging process. Plus, evidence shows its link to higher muscular endurance, among other benefits. You can also try mass gainer

So, what does beta-alanine do? In short, the effects of beta-alanine revolve around your physical working capacity. To provide more context, we’ll examine how it boosts one’s athletic performance and plays a role in your body composition. Similarly, we’ll touch upon how beta-alanine supplementation can increase the user’s training volume. You might also like to try muscle building supplements.

However, we’ll begin with basic stuff like what beta-alanine is, how it works, and its possible benefits. In addition, you will also learn the food sources of this supplement and the standard dosage. Lastly, we’ll examine what you should combine beta-alanine with and the possible side effects of taking it. Here are the details.

Beta-Alanine: Overview

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that your body produces. Amino acids readily combine in your body to create proteins. Yet, unlike other amino acids, beta-alanine combines with amino acid histidine to form carnosine. Next, carnosine (a dipeptide) acts within the muscles to reduce acid accumulation. As a result, you’ll notice lesser degrees of muscle fatigue and improved exercise performance.

Since your body produces beta-alanine, you don’t need to consume it unless you are into high endurance performance exercises. In that case, taking beta-alanine could be helpful since it increases the muscle carnosine levels in your muscles, as was found by Professor Roger Harris. But, how does beta-alanine supplementation work?


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps increase your exercise performance.

Beta-Alanine Supplementation

Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting step in muscle carnosine synthesis. Its main function is to increase carnosine content in the skeletal muscle. On this aspect, note that your muscles contain high levels of amino acids and low levels of beta-alanine. As such, this condition limits the production of carnosine. So, supplementing histidine with beta-alanine increases the production of carnosine. Then, with a higher carnosine level, you’re set for more extreme challenges.

Glucose Breakdown: First, your body breaks down glucose into pyruvate and energy. This process is a multi-step metabolic pathway that occurs in the cytoplasm cells of your body.

Production of Lactate: Continuous workout leads to more glucose breakdown into lactic acid and then into lactate. Next, lactate reverse converses into pyruvate. This is key to keeping the cells’ redox balance. The lactate breakdown further leads to the production of hydrogen ions.

Higher Acid levels in the Muscles: High rate of anaerobic glycolysis in your skeletal muscles leads to more production of hydrogen ions. As a result, the pH level in your muscles reduces, making them more acidic.

Beginning of Fatigue: The acidity then blocks further glycolysis, reducing the ability of your muscles to contract. Fatigue will start to set in at this point.

Carnosine Buffer: Soon afterward, carnosine kicks in to buffer against the acid. Hence, it reduces muscle acidity during your high-intensity interval training.


Beta-alanine helps increase carnosine, which reduces the acidity in your muscles during exercise. This process prevents fatigue from setting in.

Therefore, beta-alanine ties with your skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations. Among other benefits, this affects performance and body composition. Here are some other aspects:

Athletic Performance and Strength

It has been proven through several studies that beta-alanine improves athletic performance in the following ways:

Reduces Exhaustion During High-Intensity Exercises

High-intensity exercises lead to muscle fatigue, and here is where beta-alanine comes into play. As its primary function, it prolongs the time to exhaustion (TTE). In other words, you will work out for long with the same intensity. In a case study, cyclists found that their output increased by 13% within four weeks and a further 3.2% in the 10th week.

Promotes Muscle Growth

Another study found can aid the user’s aerobic exercise performance by over 15%. This is because it reduces neuromuscular fatigue. Naturally, this can also improve your exercise capacity.


Beta-alanine helps reduce fatigue and improve your exercise capacity. Also, it raises your neuromuscular fatigue threshold.

Body Composition

This supplement can also affect your body composition by helping you gain lean muscle mass. Since carnosine acts to boost one’s endurance, you can engage even in resistance exercise. However, research is still ongoing regarding diminishing returns. Hence, there’s a limit to the effects of beta-alanine you get from dietary supplements.

Still, you should follow a daily chart to allow proper build-up. So, daily usage of beta-alanine brings much better results than using it just before training. However, don’t rush when combining beta-alanine with similar supplements.

Similarly, you should keep an eye on your body’s reaction to spot if you need to take a break. Also, try consulting your physician and reviewing your medical history before starting any dosage.


Taking beta-alanine supplements can increase your lean muscle mass since it helps boost your exercise capacity.

Other Health Benefits of Taking Beta-Alanine Supplementation

There are other effects of beta-alanine supplementation besides the ones we have mentioned above. Those effects include:

Reduced Neurological Issues

Beta-alanine supplementation can lower the effects of anxiety’s cognitive symptoms and depression. Also, such issues may follow a neurological disorder or simply too much physical exertion. Yet, if you suffer from such symptoms, it’s best to follow the expert’s advice before taking any new steps. After all, not all meds are compatible.

Improves Vascular Function

As we deducted above, beta-alanine can increase physical working endurance. Hence, this relates to your overall cardiovascular health. However, note that beta-alanine doesn’t directly affect this aspect. Therefore, you shouldn’t use it as medication to treat a health-related condition.

Potentially Fight Cancer Cells

Some studies show that beta-alanine supplementation can reduce inflammation in your body. For example, studies on animals showed increased levels of carnitine. Hence, the focus of the experiment proved that beta-alanine supplementation could potentially fight cancer cells. 

Improves the Immune System

Taking beta-alanine results in high levels of carnosine in your body, which protects your nerves and eyesight. In addition, beta-alanine has antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties. 

Good for the Elderly

Researchers believe that beta-alanine supplementation can allow you to keep up your normal regimen when growing old. In other words, it can aid those who try to stay fit after the age of 50. However, it can’t make up for a general lack of physical activity. Thus, the effects of beta-alanine promote higher muscular endurance even in the elderly.


These supplements are beneficial for adults, too, since the carnosine inside these supplements has antioxidants.

Which Are The Best Beta-Alanine Food Sources?

Of course, it is common knowledge that taking too much of something, however safe, can still affect you. For that reason, you need to consume food rich in beta-alanine as a way of mitigating potential side effects. Those food sources rich in this non-essential amino acid include:

Chicken Breast and Broth

According to a study by Poultry Science, chicken breast meat contains higher carnosine levels compared to the thigh. In addition, 3lbs serving of this meat contains vitamin B3, also known as niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid. It is also rich in high-quality protein, with 3lbs containing 26 grams. Also, note that you don’t have to eat chicken to get this non-essential amino acid. Instead, you can take chicken broth which is rich in it, too.


The fact that red meat is good for athletes doing high-intensity exercise is nothing new. However, you should be cautious of what comprises your meal. This is because lean cuts are rich in protein, selenium, B vitamins, and zinc. At the same time, such cuts are low on calories and saturated fats. In addition, lean meat is also low in cholesterol, making it the best source of beta-alanine amino acids. Lastly, your body will has an easier time dissolving it.


Turkey is equally rich in niacin, an essential compound for converting the food you consume into energy. It also builds and repairs DNA. On the flip side, it is somewhat rich in fats and cholesterol, as studies show. 


Like most types of fish, whitefish is very rich in beta-alanine. On top of that, it’s lean and packed with protein. This type of meat is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Regarding glycogen, whitefish fat funnel carbs into muscles. Next, your body burns those reserves during high-intensity exercise.


Pork not only helps you in boosting beta alanine but also helps with managing your weight. This type of meat is rich in thiamine, niacin, B vitamins, phosphorus, and iron. As such, it hastens your metabolism. These minerals and vitamins also help with fatigue during intense exercise.


Salmon is not a white fish, but you can get an excellent beta-alanine boost by eating it. It doesn’t matter if the salmon is farmed or wild; both types are nutritional. However, farmed salmon might have more omega-3 fatty acids overall. Yet, it’s also a dish rich in saturated fat and calories, which is great before your workout.


Tuna is not that beneficial for pregnant ladies, but overall it is an excellent source of beta-alanine, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. For the best results, use Albacore tuna instead of canned one and eat it only once a week. However, if you are already using supplements, avoid this dish altogether.


Mackerel is not that common compared to tuna or salmon. Still, this oily fish has the same amount of beta-alanine and is also a good source of vitamin D. Avoid eating king Mackerel as it has the highest amount of mercury; instead, stick with Atlantic or Atka mackerel.


Carbon-rich foods are the best source of beta-alanine; if you don’t want to use supplements, these foods are the best alternative.

Standard Beta-Alanine Supplementation 

There are standard beta-alanine doses. For orally supplied beta-alanine supplementation, it’s best if you take four to six grams of this amino acid supplement. You can take this twice a day for ten weeks on cycle and another ten off cycle. Alternatively, you can go for a 24-week cycle and a 24-week off cycle.  Note that it will be best to reach out to a healthcare provider who will guide you on the dosage as per your condition.

What’s the Proper Dosage of Beta-Alanine?

Naturally, the dosage is one key aspect you should inquire about before starting the diet. If you stay informed, you’ll know how to ration and see optimal results. A proper dosage won’t only keep the side effects away, but it also improves your overall physical performance. Also, it will reduce the chances of paresthesia (sudden skin crawling). However, it also depends on your body and the food you take before the supplement. So, there are a couple of factors that you should check before using a beta-alanine supplement.

Proper Dosing and Stacking of Beta-Alanine

Once you get the product, ensure to check the list of ingredients. The same goes for the distillation process. Then, head online and look for valuable data regarding that formula. Scientific evidence is the only proof that shows a particular ingredient will provide the desired results.

To get the minimum benefits of beta-alanine, you should consume 90 grams within 28 days. For the best results, you should take 179 grams of beta-alanine in 28 days, which makes the daily consumption of 3.2 to 6.4 grams. 

It doesn’t mean you have to reach the minimum or maximum level within a day. Instead, you can use multiple supplements or standalone products. In that way, you’ll reach the dosage without straining your body. Also, it is best to stick to the diet every day, so your body can absorb it better and fight any side effects it might cause.

Therefore, check the label to see how much beta-alanine it has and use it accordingly. Typically, on the label, you’ll find beta-alanine per serving, making it easier to take the right dosage. However, if it contains total servings and total beta-alanine amount, you can find the per serving dosage by dividing those numbers.

On a similar note, keep in mind that you’ll have to take the supplement for at least a month before seeing results. Also, you have to take it daily to maintain the results, not just on workout days. Your provider will let you know when you should take a break to give your body some rest. Typically, you should take a break for one or two months after using the supplements for one trimester.

Instant Release vs. Sustained Release

There are two types of supplements you’ll find on the market. First, there are those offering quick results but with fleeting effects. In comparison, the other type allows slow progress, but the results are long-lasting.

If you want an instant boost to your workout, opt for the instant-release supplements. Yet, you’ll also need to correct your diet if you wish to get prolonged results. On the other hand, a sustained release supplement takes more time to set in, and you’ll see some results after two or three weeks.

You can also stack these supplements, using instant release products on workout days and the other type daily. However, make sure not to cross the maximum beta-alanine dosage so you won’t face any adverse side effects.


The best dosage of beta-alanine is between three to six grams per day, and taking it with a meal is even more effective.

Safety & Side Effects Of Beta-Alanine Supplements

Like any other supplement or product you introduce into your body, a high quantity of beta-alanine supplements will show some side effects. Thus, breastfeeding moms and people suffering from heart conditions should avoid taking beta-alanine supplements. In addition, you should also avoid this amino acid supplement if you are on erectile dysfunction medication. Otherwise, the meds might get in each other’s way. Some of the common side effects of beta-alanine include:

Tingling & Itching

This is a common side effect of using beta-alanine supplements. Also known as parenthesis, the effect sets in right after taking it. Although not harmful, the intensity varies among users. On the flip side, itching is much rarer in users who opt for tablets. Hence, decide which method you’re more comfortable with.


Although not common, some users have reported cases of insomnia after taking extra amino acids like beta-alanine. So, it will be best if you avoid taking it before going to bed.


This supplement may also cause nausea among some users. However, this is yet to be tested in a medical experiment. Naturally, if you feel this side-effect after weeks of regular usage, consider avoiding beta-alanine for a while. 


Beta-alanine can cause acne. In a study, healthy soldiers consumed the amino-acid supplement, and despite doing intense exercise, they still ended up with inflammatory markers. So, if you have a history of acne, look for a product with milder effects.

How to Minimize the Side Effects of Beta-Alanine

The best way to minimize the side effects is not to take beta-alanine in large doses. Additionally, don’t use the stacking method, where you take multiple supplements at different times of the day. Sustained release is a great way to avoid the adverse side effects since you’ll be taking the low dosage daily instead of taking lots at once. Although this is the slow-acting method, it is better for avoiding side effects. However, some scenarios may rule it out. Either way, sufficient daily doses are the best way to improve your physical performance rather than taking high doses on workout days.


While the data is limited for these side effects, they are the most common ones people experience while using beta-alanine supplements.

Which Sports Supplements Can You Combine With Beta-Alanine?

Research has found that mixing beta-alanine with other sports supplements increases its effectiveness. Some of the supplements you can mix it with include:

Sodium Bicarbonate

The combo of beta-alanine with sodium bicarbonate is popular among athletes aiming for enhanced endurance. These ergogenic supplements work by inhibiting acid accumulation in the skeletal muscles when working out. It’s safe to say that you can try it if you want to stack your daily dose of beta-alanine.


Creatine is an equally popular supplement that you can combine with beta-alanine supplements. This method has been tested and proven to produce positive results in the prevention of muscle fatigue and endurance. In addition, the two supplements work in tandem to give reliable endurance results in your high-intensity workout routine.


Beta-alanine works best if stacked with other compounds like creatine or sodium bicarbonate.

Best Ways To Take Beta-Alanine Supplements:

Your body has a limit to everything; even if it creates lots of energy with the help of a supplement, it will also lose power quickly. Thus, it is better to take beta-alanine supplements 40-minutes before your workout to ensure high-intensity performance. The results will last for around two hours, which is enough for any workout session.

On the other hand, taking small beta-alanine doses daily with your breakfast will keep you energized for the entire day. However, don’t expect optimal results from the get-go. As is the case with other supplements, give it around a month to test the waters. Generally, it takes 12 weeks to see the full effects. Then, you can choose to continue using the supplements or take a break, as pointed out by your supplier.


Taking beta-alanine 30-45 minutes before the workout is best, and keeping using the supplements for three months generates the most significant results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beta-Alanine Supplementation

  • Is beta-alanine supplementation legal?

Yes, beta-alanine is legal to buy and use for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Also, experts recommend it for better resistance training performance. As such, many high-performance athletes include it in their diet. However, hobbyists will also enjoy an increased training volume. As for the best brands, ensure to check their current product rating.

  • When should you take beta-alanine?

It’s best to take this supplement pre-workout. Also, taking it with a meal is the right approach. In addition, it will be best if you are consistent in your dosage for better results.

  • How much does beta-alanine cost?

The price of beta-alanine varies depending on where you buy it from and its type. For instance, the cost of pure beta-alanine is different from that of a pre-workout mix. So, compare the prices and consider your needs when making a choice. Also, favor the most reputed brands since their items go under a lot of scrutiny before commerce.

  • Is beta-alanine a stimulant?

Beta-alanine has an acute stimulant effect, and that’s why you should take it pre-workout. On the flip side, avoid taking it before retiring to bed as it might cause insomnia.

  • Does beta-alanine have an age limit?

No, beta-alanine doesn’t have an age limit. This goes for buying or using it. However, you shouldn’t give it to pre-teen children. Exceptions include certain conditions that lead to such prescriptions. Also, heed the advice of a qualified medical practitioner if you have such medical history. Lastly, note that beta-alanine has no long-term usage limit since it’s an essential amino acid in the first place.

  • Can you take 10 grams of beta-alanine?

No, taking this much will likely lead to the side effects we mentioned before. The best way to supplement the dosage is through food rich in amino acids. So, find a healthy pace and don’t look for overnight changes. In that way, you’ll get to use the other nutrients comprising each meal.

  • What is the best form of beta-alanine?

Beta-alanine comes in powder and pills. There is no outright better choice as it depends on your body’s reactions. Generally, people take it as powders with a meal. Hence, settle on a plan regarding your daily intake schedule. Next, consider which type is more in line with your agenda.

  • Can beta-alanine hurt your liver?

No, beta-alanine doesn’t hurt the liver. Instead, it supports all food digestion. This amino acid protects the liver against hypoxic liver injury, which comes as a result of osmotic stress. Also, beta-alanine prevents sodium overload and increases liver resistance.

Conclusion: What Does Beta Alanine Do?

Taking beta-alanine supplementation is essential if you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast. This is because it helps in reducing acid levels in your muscles during high-intensity exercise. However, you need to understand what you are getting into before you start taking it. You might also like to try post workout supplements

This comprehensive guide answers the question of what beta-alanine does in detail. It contains all the information you need to start taking supplements with this amino acid. At the same time, we’ve explained how beta-alanine helps in muscle carnosine synthesis. In addition, we showed its link to better exercise performance, body composition, and so forth. Have a look at pre workout supplements for women.

Therefore, you can follow this guide to control the dosage and avoid misuse. Similarly, choose which supplements you can combine with care. Lastly, pay attention to the type of meals you take during the day. When on such a diet, it’s best to eat lean meats low in saturated fat. In that way, you’ll avoid the possible side effects of that combination.

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