Beta-alanine improves athletic performance. It can reduce fatigue, increase endurance and boost performance in high-intensity exercises.
Increases Time to Exhaustion
Studies have shown that beta-alanine helps increase the time to exhaustion (TTE).
In other words, it helps you exercise for longer periods at a time (3, 8, 12). A study of cyclists found that 4 weeks of supplements increased total work completed by 13%. It increased by an additional 3.2% after 10 weeks (5).
Similarly, 20 male subjects on a comparable cycling test increased their time to exhaustion by 13–14% after 4 weeks of beta-alanine supplements (13).
Benefits Shorter-Duration Exercises
In general, muscle acidosis limits the duration of high-intensity exercise.
For this reason, beta-alanine specifically helps performance during high-intensity and short-duration exercise lasting one to several minutes.
One study showed that 6 weeks of beta-alanine increased time to exhaustion from 1,168 to 1,387 seconds during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) (14).
Another study found that 18 rowers who supplemented for 7 weeks were 4.3 seconds faster than the placebo group in a 2,000-meter race lasting over 6 minutes (15).
For older people, it can help increase muscle endurance (18).
BOTTOM LINE:Beta-alanine is most effective in exercises lasting one to several minutes. It can help reduce fatigue, while increasing exercise capacity and muscle endurance.
Some evidence suggests that beta-alanine may benefit body composition.
One study showed that supplementing for 3 weeks increased lean muscle mass (17).
Similarly, supplementing for 4 weeks helped 32 females reduce their body weight and body fat while also increasing lean muscle mass (23).
It’s possible that beta-alanine improves body composition by increasing training volume and promoting muscle growth.
BOTTOM LINE:Beta-alanine can help increase exercise volume. This could lead to increases in lean body mass and reductions in body fat, although the evidence is mixed.
Beta-alanine increases carnosine levels, which may have several health benefits.
Interestingly, animal and test-tube studies show that carnosine has antioxidant, anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties. However, humans studies are needed.
Carnosine also prevents changes in the structure and function of proteins in the body. This may give it some anti-aging properties (28).