One of the most common pre-workout ingredients on earth, beta-alanine is a naturally occurring beta-amino acid that has strong links to improved performance, particularly when a person is exerting themselves in the range of 60 to 240 seconds. Sprinters and lifters alike may benefit from beta-alanine. When a product is this popular, it’s hard to decide on a particular brand. That’s why we came up with this list of the best beta-alanine supplements on the market.
Best Beta-Alanine Supplements
- Best Overall Beta-Alanine: Transparent Labs RawSeries Beta-Alanine
- Best Value Beta-Alanine: Bulk Supplements Beta-Alanine
- Best Beta-Alanine Pills: NOW Sports Beta-Alanine Capsules
- Best Option With Creatine: Neoforce Performance Creaforce
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Best Overall Beta-Alanine
Transparent Labs RawSeries Beta-Alanine comes as a powder with a one-scoop recommended serving size that delivers three grams of the namesake amino acid. Each container provides 300 grams total of beta-alanine, offering an excellent price per serving for anyone buying their supplements on a budget.
The quality to price ratio makes Transparent Labs RawSeries Beta-Alanine a top contender on the market. Each serving offers three grams of beta-alanine, just under the four gram dosage most studies are conducted with.
This product uses no artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives. In addition, it is non-GMO and gluten-free.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs RawSeries Beta-Alanine
- Anyone who values the lack of artificial additives in their supplements.
- Those who are confined by a limited budget.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs RawSeries Beta-Alanine
- Folks looking for a higher dose than three grams per serving.
- People uncomfortable with a natural tingling sensation that could be caused by beta-alanine.
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Best Value Beta-Alanine
Bulk Supplements, as the name suggests, specializes in selling their products in bulk, making for low prices, particularly when buying pounds at a time. It’s a very no-frills product — no flavoring, no additives — but if all you want is pure beta-alanine that’s free from additives, it’s the most cost-effective option.
No frills, no additives, this is one of the most inexpensive beta-alanine on the market.
This may be the most inexpensive beta-alanine product on the market, so those who are looking to spend less and get more, be on high alert here. In addition, there are no additives at all — no sugar, soy, dairy, gluten, or anything else. Bulk Supplements lab tests their products for purity, which is always a good thing.
Who Should Buy Bulk Supplements Beta-Alanine
- Anyone looking for a very simple product with simple, straightforward ingredients.
- Those who appreciate third party ingredient vetting.
- People who want to spend less money on supplements.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Bulk Supplements Beta-Alanine
- Anyone who wants a measuring scoop included.
- Folks who need a flavored product to help them take their supplements.
- People who dislike futzing with a ziplock bag.
Unlike most other competitors, this product doesn’t come with a scoop for measuring doses, which can make getting the recommended serving a bit more difficult if you are unequipped with an alternative means of measuring. Additionally, the absence of flavorings and sweeteners means some find the product quite sour. The zip lock breaks easily, so be wary of keeping this product in its packaging as opposed to changing it over to a separate container.
Despite these glaring weaknesses, there is little doubt that this product uses quality ingredients that have been stress tested by third parties and is certainly quite the bang for your buck.
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Best Beta-Alanine Pills
For those who want a more portable form of beta-alanine that can be taken in the gym or on the go, NOW has produced a simple formula that’s made with CarnoSyn®, a popular form of beta-alanine that has a lot of rigorous controls intended to ensure purity.
A well dosed, vegan friendly capsule that's third party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
The pills are third-party tested by Informed Choice, a well-regarded organization that tests for banned substances and impurities. The capsules are vegan friendly, unlike many competitors. The main ingredient is CarnoSyn®, beta-alanine with a good reputation for its purity.
Who Should Buy NOW Sports Beta-Alanine Capsules
- Vegans and those who follow vegan diets.
- Anyone who prefers taking a pill rather than having to mix powder.
- People who appreciate strong third party testing for impurities.
Who Shouldn’t Buy NOW Sports Beta-Alanine Capsules
- Anyone who doesn’t want to consume rice flour and other fillers.
- Those who cannot consume products made near products that contain gluten, soy, and other allergens.
The capsules contain rice flour and some other fillers which might be a turn off for anyone looking to avoid it. While the product isn’t made with allergens, it’s made in a facility that processes other ingredients that contain gluten, soy, and other allergens. If that is a no-no for you, then this will likely be a product to pass by. However, if it’s not a deal-breaker and you prefer consuming a pill to a powder, then it’ll be hard to top this pick on our list.
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Best Option With Creatine
Some research suggests that taking both beta-alanine and creatine may be more effective at improving performance and muscle growth than taking either of the supplements on their own. Creaforce makes this simple with a good dose of both ingredients, and it’s available in an unflavored version or in watermelon, blue raspberry, and sour apple flavors.
An effective combination of both creatine and beta-alanine that's available in several tasty flavors.
This combination may enhance performance better than taking creatine or beta-alanine alone. The product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Creaforce is available in several different flavors.
Who Should Buy Neoforce Performance Creaforce
- Anyone who wants to take their beta-alanine alongside creatine.
- Those who are looking for multiple flavor options — both sweet and sour.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Neoforce Performance Creaforce
- People aiming to dodge artificial sweeteners.
- Folks who cannot have products processed alongside gluten, soy, or peanuts.
The flavored versions contain artificial sweeteners, but one can always choose the unflavored variety if anything artificial in the ingredient list is a dealbreaker. The product is made in a facility where other products are made that contain allergens, including gluten, soy, and peanuts, meaning that if you or someone in the same household has a nut allergy, this product should likely stay on the shelf. Barring any of that, this is a top tier choice for creatine plus beta-alanine combination.
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What Are the Benefits of Beta-Alanine?
This is a naturally occurring beta-amino acid and a building block of carnosine, which seems to help buffer acid in muscles. (1) What that means is that it may neutralize the acid in the body; during intense exercise, processes that help to rapidly provide energy can also cause pH to drop, acidity to increase, and muscles to fatigue. (2)(3) Beta-alanine seems to mitigate this effect.
This is the most popular effect of beta-alanine, with a significant amount of research finding it can improving sprinting speed by 3 percent, VO2 max by over ten percent, and improve strength workouts in the 8- to 15-rep range. (4)(5)(6)
Limited evidence suggests that beta-alanine might have a “hypertrophic” effect — that it increases muscle and decreases body fat. (6)(7)(8) This may be because the people taking it are able to handle more exercise than they would have without it, so the mechanism is a little unclear.
[Related: Nutrition For Bulking: 10 Tips For Intelligent Muscle Gain]
Beta-alanine increases the amount of carnosine in the body, which is an antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and combats free radicals that contribute to some components of the aging process. (9)(10)(11) Carnosine also appears to increase nitric oxide production, which may improve heart health. (12)
How We Decided Our Picks
For the most part, beta-alanine products will fall within the relatively close dosages — somewhere between two to five grams per serving. There are however several other factors that differentiate products and, more importantly, allow for certain products to rise above their competitors. Here is what influenced our choices.
It should go without saying that an overwhelming majority of customers will desire better quality ingredients in their supplements and for good reason. If a serving from a particular product says it has a dose of X grams, you’d want to be sure that it is legitimately X grams and not a combination of other impurities that shouldn’t be there.
There are several third-party testing services that can clear a product for having no banned substances or other impurities in its ingredients. If a product goes out of their way to get third-party tested, they will most likely share that information as it is both important for customers to know and a great selling point for marketing purposes.
If a product was graded well by a third-party testing service for its ingredients, then it was given more points in our scoring system.
This one is going to be a bit more subjective, but let’s walk through some examples that would score a particular product points. Additives are considered anything beyond the beta-alanine itself. This can include sweeteners, preservatives, other supplements, etc.
If a product claims itself as a beta-alanine product combination and the ingredients and dosages are good per serving, then we graded them on that. For example, if a product claims to be creatine plus beta-alanine supplement, then we graded it against other similar products harder than against products that were just beta-alanine.
This helped us find what we think are the better picks when it comes to flavored supplements and combination supplements. You will see that spread reflected in our top picks.
[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]
What To Consider Before Buying
While it’s a very popular pre-workout ingredient, its effects aren’t actually timing-dependent. You can take beta-alanine any time of day. The standard dose is usually 1.6 grams, though many of the studies that have seen results from beta-alanine have used doses of 4 to 6 grams. (13) Beta-alanine is well known for producing paresthesia, a “tingling” sensation on the skin. It doesn’t happen to everybody and it’s harmless, but some find it unpleasant. (13) It may be avoided by taking smaller doses throughout the day instead of one large dose.
Some limited evidence has suggested that combining beta-alanine with creatine may be more effective for increasing strength and body composition than taking either supplement alone. (14) Not every study agrees with this, but it’s worth considering taking both supplements together (though it’s not necessary to take them at the same time). (15)
There are very few pre-workout supplements with as much research supporting their use as beta-alanine. If someone’s looking for as many tools as possible to conquer a workout, or if they just want a little more endurance when they hit the gym, it’s worth considering beta-alanine.
1. Artioli GG, et al. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73.
2. Derave W, et al. beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Nov;103(5):1736-43.
3. Trexler ET, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jul 15;12:30.
4. Hobson RM, et al. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37.
5. Stout JR, et al. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. 2007;32(3):381-6.
6. Kern BD, et al. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on performance and body composition in collegiate wrestlers and football players. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):1804-15.
7. Walter AA, et al. Six weeks of high-intensity interval training with and without beta-alanine supplementation for improving cardiovascular fitness in women. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1199-207.
8. Smith AE, et al. 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.
9. Klebanov GI, et al. Effect of carnosine and its components on free-radical reactions. Membr Cell Biol. 1998;12(1):89-99.
10. Kohen R, et al. Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 May;85(9):3175-9.
11. Hipkiss AR. Glycation, ageing and carnosine: are carnivorous diets beneficial? Mech Ageing Dev. 2005 Oct;126(10):1034-9.
12. Takahashi S, et al. Carnosine facilitates nitric oxide production in endothelial f-2 cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Nov;32(11):1836-9.
13. Stellingwerff T, et al. Optimizing human in vivo dosing and delivery of β-alanine supplements for muscle carnosine synthesis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):57-65.
14. Hoffman J, et al. Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46.
15. Stout JR, et al. Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Nov;20(4):928-31.