My question is, is beta-alanine worth taking and if so, can you give some specifics as to product recommendations?
My history with beta-alanine is an interesting one. In 2009, I recommended against it, citing the fact that it took too long to see anything, and even if you did it was marginal. Further stated that the only reason the product sold was that it gave users “the tingles,” or a peculiar paresthesia effect.
My opinion on that matter started to change in 2009 and 10, during which time some real interesting studies were published. The first showed performance enhancements occurred when exercise duration exceeded 1 minute. The other showed a 3 fold increase in lbm when combined with creatine. Meaning 3x/more muscle than creatine alone. That’s nothing to ignore, but I was still skeptical.
Within the past 4 months or so, I decided to give it another go. This time though, I tailored my dosing and exercise template to reflect some other info showing how uptake and incorporation into muscle improved when taken with food. So instead of 3g/day I jacked it up to 6-10 depending and further, did that with both a time released and “straight” versions of BA. Here’s what I learned..
Non-Timed Release Version
If taking the non-time released version, around 2 grams with a meal, 3x a day is advised. If taking the sustained release version, take around 3 grams of that twice a day. I’d further call for no less than 6 grams a day and no more than 2grams with a meal. More than this leads to a lot of beta-alanine being excreted. You can still build carnosine levels on 1.6 grams/day but it takes longer, and who doesn’t want results yesterday?
I highly advise buying both time release and “straight” BA be that powder or capsules. Reason being, the time release ones make compliance easier, unless you want to travel around with big bags of BA all day.
On the results end of things, you should start to notice them at around the one month mark. “Results” I define as a greatly mitigated level of lactic acid accumulation in the muscles while under load. Speaking of that, switching to triple drop sets and/or slow tempo reps makes a lot of sense at this time. On the slow tempo, observe a 6 seconds up/down cadence. It’s been shown to improve protein synthesis threefold higher vs. reps that take just 2 seconds to complete.
Keep taking your beta-alanine month in and month out. That, given a study showing muscle carnosine levels were STILL increasing at the 6 month mark.