There are many different supplements out there which are designed to give you the performance boost you need at the gym to gain as much muscle as possible. Amino acids are pretty good at improving your short-term, high-intensity workouts which can result in some major benefits. Among these amino acids, we find beta-alanine which is known for its effectiveness and ability to truly spike your high-intensity workouts and their results to the next level.
If you are looking to gain more from your HIIT training then beta-alanine based supplements are a good place to start. When used alongside other ingredients as a pre-workout supplement, this stuff really has what you need.
But how can one choose the right product for what they need when there are so many different supplements out there, each offering something unique and special? Fortunately, we did some of the work for you and decided to give you a list of the most popular and used beta-alanine supplements on the market with some information we dug up on each of these products. Remember, this list isn’t organized in any specific way.
BulkSupplements Pure Beta-alanine
If you have ever been serious about taking supplements, chances are you have already heard of the well-known BulkSupplements. They produce many different supplements which usually have one thing in common, purity. BulkSupplements Pure Beta-alanine is as barebones as you can possibly get with a beta-alanine supplement. It comes in a half kilo white bag and contains as pure of a form of beta-alanine as possible. All BulkSupplements products are well tested for quality and purity.
If you are one of those people who want to make your own supplements and mix your own ingredients then BulkSupplements is the perfect choice for you. However, if you don’t have the proper scale or would rather go for something simple and effective with as little work as possible then it might be a good idea to move on to a different supplement.
Optimum Nutrition Beta-Alanine
Sometimes just the purest form of beta-alanine isn’t what you are looking for, this is where Optimum Nutrition comes into play. They provide a more of a down the middle type of beta-alanine supplement. On one side we have the pure and well tested beta-alanine ingredient and on the other side, we have a few other ingredients which are designed to spice the formula up just enough to give you a bit more of a boost then beta-alanine could do on its own.
With the help of a few different micronutrients and the very famous L-histidine, this beta-alanine formula is able to give you somewhat of an edge when it comes to performance. All of these ingredients work very well together and will certainly deliver the boost you are looking for.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
This is another supplement by Optimum Nutrition. When compared to the above beta-alanine supplement, this pre-workout blend has many more ingredients in it while still attempting to use beta-alanine as the building block for the formula.
There is roughly about 1.5 grams of beta-alanine in every single scoop of this supplement but there are also other ingredients like caffeine, creatine, B vitamins, and other amino acids. So this supplement is a more well-rounded pre-workout blend designed to give you as much of a boost as possible by supplying you with the energy you need to get through your workouts quickly and effortlessly.
If you are a fan of making your own supplement blends then you should stay away from this one since Optimum Nutrition have pretty much already decided what they think the best ingredients are for your workouts. On the other hand, if you just want to take a single supplement as you are heading to the gym, this is an excellent choice.
Don’t get us wrong, ingredients and blending them together can be an excellent way to get the most out of your supplements but too many ingredients isn’t a good thing. While BSN N.O.-XPLODE seems to have based their formula on beta-alanine’s ability to boost your performance there are also many other ingredients in the blend which we found to be somewhat confusing.
There are literally dozens of different ingredients listed on the BSN N.O.-XPLODE’s label and there is no clear way to tell whether this combination of ingredients was chosen for a specific reason. From our perspective, it seems that throwing all of these different ingredients into one mix was the plan that BSN N.O.-XPLODE decided to stick with. “Just throw as much stuff into it as possible, it’s bound to work” seems to have been the way they came up with their formula.
ProLab Beta-alanine Extreme
Not everyone is happy with a powder-based supplement, we get it, but simply making a pill version of a supplement without ensuring each pill delivers a good amount of the key supplement you are focusing on isn’t a good idea. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what was done when ProLab Beta-alanine Extreme was made. Each capsule offers only about 400 mg of beta-alanine which is a pretty low amount considering most other brands can deliver about twice as much beta-alanine.
The makers of ProLab Beta-alanine Extreme did decide to add in L-Histidine into the mix, which is a good choice if you are looking to boost performance even higher, but we think there are better blends out there with ingredients that work much better alongside beta-alanine.
Transparent Labs Beta-Alanine
If you are looking for the purest beta-alanine supplement you can possibly get your hand on then Transparent Labs Beta-Alanine is the perfect choice. Their formula consists of a pure beta-alanine powder without any additional artificial sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives.
The idea behind their supplement was simple: supply the customer with the purest and highest quality beta-alanine supplement possible. All you have to do is mix one scoop of this supplement either into your drink or shake roughly about a half an hour before your workout and you will be amazed how many more repetitions you can do as well as how much more endurance you have.
NOW Sports Beta-alanine
This is the supplement that decided to use capsules to deliver the ingredients you need without messing it all up. Each capsule of NOW Sports Beta-alanine delivers an excellent 750 mg of beta-alanine. Unfortunately, they decided to use gelatin in their capsules which means that vegans can’t benefit from this supplement.
This is by far one of the easiest supplements to take for your beta-alanine needs. There is no measuring involved, no hassle, just take your capsule and start heading to the gym.
Micro Ingredients Muscle Up Pure Beta-alanine
If you look at the packaging that Micro Ingredients decided to use for this supplement, you can obviously see that they are trying to compare themselves to BulkSupplements. So are they in the same league as BulkSupplements?
Honestly speaking, Micro Ingredients is definitely comparable to BulkSupplements. Micro Ingredients Muscle Up Pure Beta-alanine is an excellent supplement with purity and quality in mind. The only reason why we would give more praise to BulkSupplements is that they are well-known and have established a pretty good reputation in the supplement world. However, Micro Ingredients is still a very good choice for a beta-alanine supplement, so don’t let it slip away.
Another excellent blend of ingredients is being used in this supplement. Cellucor C4 uses beta-alanine as the core for their formula but they have also added a variety of different ingredients which synergize very well with it. The boost levels that are offered by beta-alanine alongside various B vitamins, caffeine, and creatine nitrate are exceptional.
The only drawback of this supplement is that you have to be careful when using it late at night. The addition of caffeine and the amount of time it stays active in your system isn’t ideal for a late evening workout, and we can almost certainly guarantee that you will have a hard time falling asleep after using this supplement. So reserve Cellucor C4 for those early morning workouts.
While purity is absolutely important, so is quantity when it comes to beta-alanine supplements. There is a reason why most of these companies offer a good amount of their supplement, generally around 500 grams, it’s because you will need all of it to keep bulking up while using beta-alanine as the source of your energy. So while Primaforce Beta-Alanine does offer one of the purest powders of beta-alanine we have seen, they also offer only 200 grams of it per container which isn’t enough to get you the performance you need at the gym for a long enough period of time to see the difference.
If you feel like buying this product frequently, go ahead give it a shot. Otherwise, stick with the biggest sized containers so that you don’t have to keep ordering your supplements every few days.
Benefits, Side Effects, And Dosage
Obviously, there is a pretty good reason why so many people choose to take supplements based on beta-alanine. This non-essential amino acid is also known as a carnosine precursor since it is converted into carnosine in our body. The produced molecules of carnosine are capable of increasing physical performance, muscle development, and stamina.
Whenever you go through an intense workout, hydrogen ions are released into your system at an accelerated rate, this unbalances your pH levels. Carnosine, which is stored in our cells, is used by our body to stabilize the pH in our body by absorbing all those extra hydrogen ions. The result is increased performance and a boost to your stamina. Since beta-alanine is a precursor to carnosine, increasing the intake of beta-alanine before your workout produces better performance results.
Our diet is limited in the amount of beta-alanine that we can derive from it. In fact, to benefit from beta-alanine you have to supplement for it since there aren’t any changes you can make to your diet to increase its intake.
Obviously, this supplement is capable of significant physical improvements and should only be used by those who spend an extended amount of time at the gym. Just taking beta-alanine will not improve your overall health.
One of the benefits that carnosine molecules have to offer is the ability to slow down aging. This has been proven by a few studies. Carnosine which is produced due to beta-alanine can act somewhat similarly to resveratrol. Resveratrol is a well-known antioxidant-like compound which is often found in red wine, peanuts, and various berries. It has the ability to improve blood flow in the body and protect the heart from injuries. Carnosine seems to have a very similar effect on the body which successfully reduces the effects of aging. To further validate this, researchers have shown that the concentrations of carnosine found in the muscles are often reduced by 45 percent throughout the aging process. This conclusion suggests that increasing levels of stored carnosine can slow down aging.
Another study suggests that carnosine is able to lower the rate of aging by reducing telomere shortening. Telomeres are parts of DNA which are capable of reducing aging as your cells multiply and divide. Throughout your life, telomeres get shorter which results in your biological age increasing and thus your appearance becomes older. Reducing the speed of telomere shrinkage should produce longevity altering effects. However, this has not yet been proven in human studies.
Another benefit of carnosine is that it appears to possess neurological antioxidant properties. When beta-alanine enters the body it uses a transporter to get into our brain. This transporter happens to be the same one that taurine uses which results in a competition between the two. As beta-alanine inhibits taurine’s ability to get into the brain, it becomes capable of moderating some neurological actions.
Additionally, as beta-alanine is converted into carnosine, support for antioxidant enzyme structures known as Superoxide Dismutase has clearly been noted. These structures are able to reduce the accumulation of proteins in the neural tissues which have been oxidized. The result is a clear support of motor functions which are a challenge for people with mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Supplementation of beta-alanine can greatly increase muscle carnosine levels in the body. This increase results in higher performance throughout a high-intensity workout and endurance based exercises. All of this is based on research which was done to verify these effects and capabilities.
As the levels of muscle carnosine are increased, we are able to fight fatigue and increase the stamina needed to do activities like weight lifting, sprinting, and jumping for a long duration of time. This is accomplished due to carnosine’s ability to absorb hydrogen ions as they are produced in large quantities during rigorous exercise. Furthermore, this reduction of hydrogen ions also reduces the effects of acidosis, the burning sensations you often feel post endurance workouts. This means you can effectively exercise longer and perform better since you aren’t experiencing the feeling of acidosis.
Blood-lactate accumulation is something else that muscle carnosine is able to help with. As the levels of carnosine increase in your muscles, it can delay the start of blood-lactate buildup. This was proven by studies which were done over a period of 28 days on runners who were taking beta-alanine and the conclusion showed that negative effects of blood-lactate formations were drastically reduced.
More research has shown that muscle mass can also be increased by increasing carnosine concentrations due to increased intake of beta-alanine. The research shows that muscle mass was increased by 20 to 80 percent when compared to other HIIT training participants who did not take beta-alanine.
Strength is something else that can be drastically increased through the supplementation of beta-alanine over a course of a full month. Studies have been done to show that people who have been taking beta-alanine were able to complete about 20 percent more squats due to their increased amino acids intake, including beta-alanine.
Possible Side Effects
Parasthesia is something that can occur if you take too much beta-alanine. This condition is known for producing tingly and sometimes even prickling type feelings on the face, abdomen, and chest areas. This feeling usually only occurs on the skin. There is also a chance that you might develop severe itching or burning feelings around your scalp and ears if you supplement too much on beta-alanine. Parasthesia can usually occur if you take more than 800mg of beta-alanine before your workout which can last up to 90 minutes.
Slow-release formulas are what you might want to stick to when trying to avoid parasthesia. Generally, this is all you need to still benefit from beta-alanine without the possible side effects
Since beta-alanine is a quick stimulant, taking it before the workout is the proper time you should always use these types of supplements. The performance associated with beta-alanine is largely due to the release of carnosine in the muscles over time, this means it doesn’t matter when you take the supplement as long as you do so daily.
The most commonly recommended dose of beta-alanine is between 3 to 5 grams divided by 3 times per day throughout the first week of supplementation. As you continue taking beta-alanine, you should start taking 3 doses per day with 3 grams of beta-alanine spread throughout the day. This ensures that your carnosine concentration is stabilized as you continue taking beta-alanine.
Beta-Alanine Boosters 2018 Summary
If you are looking to get an extra performance boost for your endurance based activities then beta-alanine is an excellent supplement choice for you. However, if you are just looking to improve your overall health then you should not take this supplement.
Mixing beta-alanine into smoothies and shakes is an excellent way to get the dosage you need, but if you need a little bit more of a kick than the one you get from pure beta-alanine, then look for supplements that include other ingredients as well.
Beta-alanine functions best for repetition and high-intensity workouts. It is capable of increasing your total stamina and endurance as well as stimulating muscle mass growth. You should always take this supplement before a workout.
There are very few side effects associated with beta-alanine and those which do often occur are due to over consumption of the supplement. However, we strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor about your plans to take beta-alanine since there might be some medical factors which might prevent you from taking this supplement safely.