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Does Beta-alanine Improve Athletic Performance?

Does Beta-alanine Improve Athletic Performance?

Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has some potential benefits to athletes as it is involved as a rate-limiting precursor of carnosine and has been accepted has an effective physiological hydrogen ion (H+) buffer.  In contrast, beta-alanine is not involved as a precursor of proteins.  Carnosine is  often used in ‘anti-aging’ supplements.

One recent study (Smith et al, 2009), found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) was effective and efficient in inducing significant aerobic improvements.  The study authors concluded that beta-alanine supplementation may further enhance HIIT training by improving both endurance performance and lean body mass.   The dose of beta-alanine in this particular study was 6 g per day for the first 3 weeks, then followed by 3g per day for the following three weeks.

An additional study (Hoffman et al, 2008) found that beta-alanine supplementation increased training volume and reduced subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players.  The dosage of beta-alanine in this study was 4.5g per day.

Important! At high doses, beta-alanine can cause side effects including paraesthesias or a sensation of “pins and needles” in your limbs.


  1. Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5.
  2. Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Faigenbaum AD, Ross R, Kang J, Stout JR, Wise JA. Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;28(1):31-5.


  • Michael

    How often beta-alanine is actually used by professional football players in the United States (i'm european)? Thanks. I will add your blog on my rss feeds.

  • Jarret Morrow

    TDS, that's a very good question, unfortunately, I don't have an answer regarding how many football players actually use beta-alanine.

  • Phillip

    Very informative blog post. I am a long-distance runner and recently tried a beta-alanine supplement after reading your blog post about a month ago. Subjectively, I find that I recover quicker between workouts. I've also noticed that my endurance has improved since I started using this supplement. Thanks for the information.

  • Mike

    I love the beta alanine "tingles". Although you don't need to feel them for beta alanine to work, it kind of shows me when it's starting to "hit" me, and then I need to get into the gym or get my swim started. Anyway great post

  • Jarret Morrow

    Phillip, Thanks for the feedback about beat-alanine. It's a supplement that I've never tried before myself.

  • Jay

    Seems to work on HIIT I've tried and tested it.

  • Fabio Borini

    I hate the beta-alanine crash

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