Creatine and Beta Alanine Stack: Miracle or Snake-Oil?

Beta Alanine/Creatine Stack: Miracle or Snake-Oil?

Creatine is the work horse of the supplement community.  It is one of the most commonly consumed supplements and with good reason – it’s been proven to work, both scientifically and anecdotally.

In contrast, relatively new on the scene is beta alanine, the dark horse of supplements.  Many health enthusiasts have heard of it, but know little about it, even though it lurks in the Nutrition Label of the most popular workout amalgams.  Why have companies started including it in their pre-workout mixtures? The answer is simple; because it is rumored to pack explosive power.

So what is beta-alanine?

Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that composes part of the peptide carnosine.  In fact, carnosine levels are dependent upon the amount of free Beta-Alanine present in the body’s muscular system.

So what you ask?

Carnosine is highly concentrated in muscle tissue.  By increasing the amount of beta-alanine available, you increase the amount of carnosine.  In doing so, studies have shown that athletes experience less fatigue and complete more muscular work. 

Carnosine is a key component to muscle-building and endurance, and beta-alanine is a key component to carnosine.

Great, but why add creatine to the mix?

liftingBeen working to increase that tricky lift? This power-house combo will certainly help.
(CC BY 2.0)

Study after study has reiterated the fact that creatine aids in both muscular endurance and muscular gains. 

A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism measured the progress of three test groups composed of collegiate level football players: a placebo group, a creatine-only group, and a creatine plus beta-alanine group. 

To quote the results of the study: “Creatine plus Beta-Alanine supplementation appeared to have the greatest effect on lean tissue accruement and body fat composition” (see: ‘Effect of Creatine and Beta-Alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes’).

The Brass Tacks

While I did not delve into the science behind the creatine/beta-alanine reaction in the body, the results speak for themselves. 

There were noticeable differences in those only using creatine versus those using creatine and beta-alanine.  I can tell you that my pre-workout mix includes both of these components, and I am continually amazed with my gains week-to-week.  However, we all know the truth; it does not matter what I say here, what matters is your experience.

So try out the combination for yourself.  All you have to lose is weight, and all you have to gain is the body you have always wanted.