Beta-Alanine as a pre workout supplement

We take a look at Beta-Alanine to see if this popular pre workout ingredient is worth using or not

Beta Alanine
Beta-Alanine is a popular pre workout ingredient Photo: Adobe Stock

Beta-Alanine is a modified form of the amino acid Alanine. It’s popular as a pre workout ingredient because of its touted ability to improve endurance during exercise.

But what does the science say about Beta-Alanine and is it a pre workout supplement you should consider trying?

The purpose of this article is for us to take an evidence-based look at Beta-Alanine from all angles to assess whether it’s a good ingredient that you should look for in a pre workout supplement or not.

There are so many different pre workout supplements that are claimed to help you get the most out of your time spent in the gym, that it can be hard to pick out the best ones.

We’re going to break this article into the following sections:

• What is Beta-Alanine?
• Beta-Alanine as a Pre Workout Supplement
• Beta-Alanine Side Effects and Safety
• What’s the best dose of Beta-Alanine?
• Anything else to consider?
• Conclusion

So, now that we’ve got the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a close look at Beta-Alanine to find out whether it’s a supplement you should consider or not.

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-Alanine is what’s known as a non-essential amino acid.

Unlike most other amino acids, it is not used by the body to synthesize proteins.

Instead, when it is consumed, it gets converted into the molecule Carnosine, which is then stored in your skeletal muscles.

The main reason why Beta-Alanine is used as a pre workout supplement ingredient is because Carnosine can help to reduce Lactic Acid accumulation in your muscles during exercise.

The theory is that can lead to improved performance during exercise. We’ll assess that in a bit more detail in the next section.

So, the bottom line here is that Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is claimed to help with things such as boosting exercise performance.

For that reason, it’s a popular pre workout ingredient. Let’s now take a look at some of the scientific research backing up these claims.

Beta-Alanine as a Pre Workout Supplement

As we’ve already covered, Beta-Alanine is a popular ingredient in some of the leading pre workout supplements on the market at the moment.

But is there much scientific evidence to suggest that it could actually help with boosting exercise performance? Let’s take a look at the studies to find out.

Well, one study from 2007 found that supplementing with Beta-Alanine increased muscle Carnosine content and reduced fatigue in trained sprinters.

Over the course of four weeks, 15 male athletes participated in the trial and took 4.8 grams of Beta-Alanine per day.

It showed that Carnosine loading slightly but significantly reduced fatigue, although it didn’t improve isometric endurance or the participants’ 400m race time.

Another summary document published in 2015 showed that daily supplementation of four to six grams of Beta-Alanine for at least two to four weeks has been shown to improve exercise performance.

However, that same document also concluded that “more research is needed to determine the effects of beta-alanine on strength, endurance performance beyond 25 minutes in duration.

There have also been studies which suggest that Beta Alanine can increase the ‘time to exhaustion’ during exercise.

What does that mean? Simply put, it could help you to exercise for longer periods at a time, which would definitely be a benefit for working out.

This study from 2006 focused on 13 male cyclists and found that four weeks of supplementing with Beta-Alanine increased Total Work Done by 13 per cent.

Simply put, there is some evidence to suggest that Beta Alanine could help to boost exercise performance and reduce fatigue.

Beta-Alanine Side Effects and Safety

Now, you may be working about the potential side effects of Beta-Alanine.

Paraesthesia (a tingling sensation in the skin) is the most widely known side-effect of taking Beta-Alanine, according to this report from 2015.

It is usually experienced in the face, neck, and back of hands.

Paraesthesia is most commonly experienced in people who are consuming more than 800mg of Beta-Alanine in a non-sustained release form.

However, the same report states that “to date, there is no evidence to support that this tingling is harmful in any way”.

It is also suggested that Paraesthesia could be reduced by splitting up the total daily dose into multiple doses.

That same report says that “current, although limited information, suggests that Beta-Alanine is safe in healthy individuals at recommended doses”.

So, the most common side effect of Beta-Alanine supplementation is Paraesthesia (a tingling sensation usually felt in the face, neck, and back of hands). However, it is not believed to be a harmful effect.

Pre workout supplement

Beta Alanine is a popular pre workout ingredient Photo: Adobe Stock

What’s the best dose of Beta-Alanine?

There is no ‘standard’ or ‘best’ dose of Beta-Alanine.

That being said, Examine.com say a common daily dose is between two and five grams.

Pre workout supplements usually contain from one to four grams of Beta Alanine.

Anything else to consider?

Although Beta-Alanine is generally considered to be a safe supplement to take, you should always consult your doctor before thinking about trying any new products for the first time.

As always, it’s important to remember that making sure that you’re sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly should be your first ports of call before thinking about any kind of supplementation.

You can check out our guide to our pick of the leading pre workout supplements on the market right now by following the link shown below.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our look at Beta-Alanine as a pre workout supplement.

We’ve explained how Beta-Alanine is a non-essential Amino Acid which could help to improve exercise performance.

It’s generally considered to be safe for us, although one possible side effect is Paraesthesia (a tingling sensation in the skin).

As always, we advise talking to your doctor before thinking about adding any new supplements to your regime.

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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge

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This article was last updated on December 05, 2018.
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