Beta Alanine: Is It Needed In My Pre-Workout?

Beta Alanine: Is It Needed In My Pre-Workout?

Every supplement used in a pre-workout formula has contradicting research about its effectiveness. This doesn’t mean that a particular ingredient shouldn’t be used, it just needs more research to back it up. Beta-alanine is no different, but there is research that shows that it’s more beneficial than not. REMEMBER: do your own research and become a better consumer.

To clear the air… you don’t need to feel the “tingle” to have a good workout or performance. Paraesthesia (tingling) is the most widely known side effect of beta-alanine1 and it varies by individual as well as the dose consumed.

The main function of beta-alanine is to enhance muscle carnosine concentration1. Carnosine plays a role as an intercellular proton buffer… in other words as you begin to feel that burning sensation as you work out, lactic acid is accumulating in the skeletal muscles. This is called exercise-induced reduction in pH2. To combat the increase in acid production within our muscles, we have naturally occurring carnosine. Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to consistently elevate carnosine levels and may therefore improve performance during high-intensity exercise and/or enhance the quality of training in athletes participating in strength and power sports3 by reducing acid build-up in our muscles thus decreasing muscle fatigue.

Beta-alanine is one of those compounds that can be used over time. In order to maximize the effects of beta-alanine research suggests a chronic loading phase of 4 - 6 g daily for a minimum of two weeks. We dose at 3.2 grams to potentially decrease the paraesthesia (tingling) effect. It typically takes a number of weeks (at least 2 weeks) for beta-alanine supplementation to yield meaningful increases in muscle carnosine content4. As we know, working out one day doesn’t change your body or make you stronger, it’s work over time that helps transform your body. The same is true with beta-alanine, though the effects are not immediate, but over time (2-4 weeks) the likelihood of beta-alanine contributing to improvements in performance and indirect effects on body composition is greater1.

Overall, the body of literature suggests that the acute (immediate) and chronic (overtime) ingestion of multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements can contribute to improvements in performance and body composition1.

Pre-workouts should contain ingredients that are usable both acutely and chronically. Yes, you want to have that burst of energy, focus, and intensity to help you immediately achieve these goals as you workout, but your body works over time as well, and this is where those ingredients that are dosed for chronic use come into play.

Choose a pre-workout formula that works with you in both the long haul and the feeling of instant gratification at the onset of your workout. While some individuals believe that beta-alanine is a waste and shouldn’t be included in a pre-workout, we think otherwise. Improving our physique is not immediate but small accomplishments over time. Fueling your passion into progress takes time and effort, your pre-workout should do the same.



1. Trexler, Eric T., et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Beta-Alanine.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 12, July 2015, p. 30. EBSCOhost,


2. Baguet A, Koppo K, Pottier A, Derave W. Beta-alanine supplementation redu ces acidosis but not oxygen uptake response during high intensity cycling exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;108(3):495–503. doi:10.1007/s00421-009-1225-0.


3. Hoffman J, Ratamess NA, Ross R, Kang J, Magrelli J, Neese K, et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. 2008;29(12):952–8. doi:10.1055/s-2008-1038678.


4. Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, Harris BD, Sale C, Boobis LH, et al. Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity. Amino Acids. 2007;32(2):225–33.


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