Does beta-alanine increase strength?K
Beta-Alanine and Strength
During exercise, increased pH can cause fatigue and hamper performance. Resistance training relies on the anaerobic energy system. This system causes increased pH levels after extended training. Beta-alanine increases muscle carnosine content and improves performance in certain activities1. Can it improve strength? Let’s take a look at what the research says.
What does the research say about beta-alanine’s ability to increase strength?
In a 2008 study, researchers looked at the effects of beta-alanine on strength in eight males. In this study, strength was measured using the 1-repetition max squat. Participants had their baseline measurements taken before and after 4 weeks of supplementation. In this study, subjects took 4.8 grams of beta-alanine per day; 1.6g, three times per day2.
This study showed a small increase in strength. The placebo group saw a 2.3% increase in squat 1-RM while the beta-alanine group saw a 3.4% increase. The study did show a significant increase in total volume, total repetitions, and mean/peak power2.
In another 2008 article, researchers conducted a similar study to test the effects of beta-alanine on strength using 26 males. In this study, strength was tested using three lifts: box squats, bench press, and deadlifts. Subjects took 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day split into 8-800mg doses3.
After 10 weeks, the results only showed a small increase in strength. The beta-alanine group saw a 19.67% increase in strength compared to a 17.46% increase in the placebo group3.
In a 2019 study, researchers looked at the effects of beta-alanine on strength. This study used 20 men. Participants consumed 4.8 grams of beta-alanine per day split into 6-800mg doses. Strength was tested using the leg press and bench press4.
The results of this study only showed very slight improvements in strength after 8 weeks. The beta-alanine group saw a 10% increase in strength while the placebo group saw a 9.4% increase4.
The Bottom Line
The good. In the studies highlighted above, beta-alanine slightly increased strength. It also increased total volume, repetitions, and power.
The bad. The results of these studies showed a VERY slight increase in strength to a point that makes it difficult to conclude whether the supplement itself caused the changes.
Should you take beta-alanine? If you’re only looking for strength gains, beta-alanine probably won’t help you much. Still, it’s found in most pre-workout products, is inexpensive, and very easy to find. Additionally, it may provide other benefits outside of increasing strength. Bottom Line: it definitely won’t hurt to take and may help you squeeze some extra strength gains out of your workout.
How much? The doses in the studies above indicate a 4.8-6.4 gram per day, split into multiple doses should be enough to see some improvements.
- Culbertson, J. Y., Kreider, R. B., Greenwood, M., & Cooke, M. (2010). Effects of Beta-Alanine on Muscle Carnosine and Exercise Performance: A Review of the Current Literature. Nutrients, 2(1), 75-98. doi:10.3390/nu2010075
- Hoffman, J. R., Ratamess, N. A., Ross, R., Kang, J., Magrelli, J., Neese, K., & Wise, J. A. (2008). Effect of B-Alanine Supplementation on the Acute Hormonal Response to Resistance Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(Supplement). doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000322188.20733.93
- Kendrick, I. P., Harris, R. C., Kim, H. J., Kim, C. K., Dang, V. H., Lam, T. Q., & Wise, J. A. (2008). The effects of 10 weeks of resistance training combined with β-alanine supplementation on whole body strength, force production, muscular endurance and body composition. Amino Acids, 34(4), 547-554. doi:10.1007/s00726-007-0008-3
- Askari, F., & Rahmaninia, F. (2018). The effect of 8 weeks beta-alanine supplementation and resistance training on maximal-intensity exercise performance adaptations in young males. Physical Education of Students, 23(1), 4-8. doi:10.15561/20755279.2019.0101