Daily Dose of Beta-Alanine: 1g; increase up to 4g over time
When you go to the gym and lift weights or do any sort of strenuous exercise, you will get to a point where you feel a burn in your muscles. This burn is a result of your muscles becoming more acidic, a state in which the muscle is also unable to use ATP (your body’s energy source) as effectively as normal. Beta-Alanine, which converts to carnosine, has the effect of buffering hydrogen ions, which brings the muscle’s pH back up to more basic levels. By doing this, you lessen fatigue and allow the muscle to work harder (do more reps, lift heavier weights, etc.)
Supplementing with a daily dose of Beta Alanine can bring your muscle’s carnosine levels up by up to 80%. By allowing you to lift more and work harder, your muscles will respond effectively and you will build more muscle. Most of the research points to creatine + beta-alanine to be a good combination; creatine for increasing the weight maximum and beta-alanine for increasing the rep maximum. Though these two compounds are naturally occurring in your body, it is still beneficial to cease taking them for a while to get your body back to normal levels. Most people suggest every 8 weeks.
Often, people who begin to take beta-alanine experience paresthesia. This is the tingly feeling that you may have felt if you’ve ever tried a pre-workout supplement. Though harmless, this feeling can be mildly uncomfortable, so it is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase as your body gets used to it. The best time to take beta-alanine is immediately proceeding a workout.
- Harris RC1, Stellingwerff T. Effect of β-alanine supplementation on high-intensity exercise performance. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:61-71. PMID: 23899755.
- McCormack WP1, Stout JR, Emerson NS, Scanlon TC, Warren AM, Wells AJ, Gonzalez AM, Mangine GT, Robinson EH 4th, Fragala MS, Hoffman JR. Oral nutritional supplement fortified with beta-alanine improves physical working capacity in older adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Exp Gerontol. 2013 Sep;48(9):933-9. PMID: 23832078.