Creatine and Beta-Alanine For Better Results

The effectiveness of creatine supplementation is well known. Creatine increases lean muscle mass, boosts strength, and provides you with more energy during intense workouts. Combine the effectiveness of creatine with the fact that it has no side effects, and you have a recipe for a best-selling supplement. It can’t get any better then this, right?

Wrong. New research is revealing a synergistic, beneficial relationship between creatine and the popular bodybuilding supplement beta-alanine. A study by Hoffman, J., et al. (2006)1 revealed that a group of males supplementing with the combination of creatine and beta-alanine gained more lean mass and lost more bodyfat than a group supplementing with only creatine. It is also noteworthy to mention that this study was performed on collegiate football players, and not on inexperienced lifters.

Most bodybuilders know quite a bit about creatine. But ask them about beta-alanine, and you’re likely to hear: “Yeah, I’ve heard of that stuff. Never used it, but heard of it.” What is beta-alanine, and what does it do?

Beta-alanine is a natural occurring amino acid that works to improve intramuscular carnosine concentrations. Higher intramuscular carnosine concentrations help to provide you with higher energy levels, and better endurance and athletic performance.

Numerous studies exist that reveal the following benefits of beta-alanine supplementation:

1.Beta-alanine boosts explosive strength and power.
2.Beta-alanine increases muscle mass.
3.Beta-alanine heightens muscular anaerobic endurance.
4.Beta-alanine increase aerobic endurance.
5.Beta-alanine assists you in training harder and longer.
A Beta-Alanine and Creatine Cycle
The benefits of beta-alanine supplementation improve the deeper you get into a cycle. Lifters who supplement with 4 to 6 grams of beta-alanine on a daily basis can expect to increase muscle carnosine by up to 60% after only a month. After an additional 35 days of beta-alanine supplementation, it is possible to add up to 20% more muscular carnosine.

Because the benefits of beta-alanine supplementation get better with time, it may be in your best interest to front load beta-alanine for a couple of weeks prior to beginning your creatine cycle. Creatine is generally utilized for 4 to 12 week periods. For longer creatine cycles, it may not be necessary to front load beta-alanine.

Your daily beta-alanine supplementation should involve taking approximately 800 mgs at least 4 times per day. Beta-alanine has a limited half-life in the body, and the effects of supplementation will be dramatically reduced if this protocol is not followed. Consider taking beta-alanine every 4 hours.

It should also be mentioned that the benefits from beta-alanine supplementation are completely gone 3 weeks after you end your cycle. Carnosine levels gradually return back to normal. For this reason, expect a noticeable decrease in performance when you cycle off a creatine and beta-alanine stack.

Also, it is recommended that you supplement with taurine during and after your beta-alanine cycle. Beta-alanine supplementation is known to deplete taurine levels.

Here is a recap on how to maximize the beta-alanine and creatine stack:

Frequency. Beta-alanine must be taken every 4 hours with approximately 750 to 800 mgs.
Taurine. Supplement with taurine when using beta-alanine.

There is no research revealing any dangers associated with long term beta-alanine or creatine supplementation. It is generally recommended that you stick with a maximum 12 week cycle for both supplements.