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Beta Alanine Side Effects: An In Depth Look

Quick Summary

  • Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid used primarily by athletes to enhance muscle carnosine levels and improve high-intensity exercise performance.
  • It is regarded as a safe supplement carrying minimal health risks.
  • Users often experience paresthesia, a tingling sensation, and flushing or skin redness, which can be managed by adjusting the dosage. These conditions are temporary and not classed as dangerous.
  • Muscle cramps may occur on occasion, which can be mitigated through proper hydration and maintaining electrolyte balance.
  • Taking beta-alanine on rare occasions can lead to stomach cramps, nausea, and indigestion, especially when consumed in high doses or on an empty stomach.
  • Some individuals in very uncommon circumstances may experience increased anxiety or nervousness, suggesting a stimulant effect on the nervous system.
  • Very rare severe allergic reactions like skin rashes necessitate immediate discontinuation and medical consultation.
  • Beta-alanine should be used cautiously by those with existing health conditions or those taking heart or neurological medications.
  • Starting with a low dose to assess tolerance and consulting with healthcare professionals can help minimize side effects and ensure safe supplementation.


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that has become a staple supplement in the world of sports and fitness, particularly among athletes and bodybuilders seeking to enhance their performance and endurance. While the benefits of beta-alanine, such as increased muscle carnosine levels and improved performance in high-intensity exercises, are well-documented, it may also be important to understand its potential side effects. This article aims to provide a thorough overview of these side potential effects, helping users make informed decisions about their supplement use.

What is Beta Alanine?

Beta-alanine is naturally produced in the liver and is also found in protein-rich foods like chicken, beef, and pork. In the body, it combines with histidine to form carnosine, which acts as a buffer against acid build-up in muscles during exercise. Supplements typically provide beta-alanine in higher concentrations than what can be achieved through diet alone, often recommended in dosages of 2 to 5 grams per day to boost athletic performance.

Common Side Effects of Beta-Alanine

While beta-alanine is considered safe for most users, there are several common side effects associated with its consumption. Here’s what you might expect:

Paresthesia (Tingling)

  • Paresthesia is a tingling sensation on the skin, often described as a feeling of pins and needles.
  • It commonly affects the hands, feet, and face.
  • The sensation typically begins 15 to 20 minutes after supplementation and can last up to an hour.
  • To reduce the severity, consider spreading the dosage throughout the day or minimising the dose.

Flushing (Skin Redness)

  • Flushing involves redness of the skin caused by an increase in blood flow to the area.
  • It often occurs on the face and neck.
  • Higher doses can increase the likelihood and intensity of flushing.
  • Again, lowering the dose or splitting it into smaller amounts throughout the day can help.

Uncommon Side Effects of Beta-Alanine

Muscle Cramping

  • Some users report muscle cramps, possibly due to changes in nerve activity and muscle response.
  • Ensuring proper hydration and balancing electrolyte intake can help mitigate cramping.


  • Though rare, some users might experience more severe reactions such as allergic responses or severe skin rashes.
  • These occurrences should prompt immediate cessation of beta-alanine use and consultation with a healthcare provider.

Gastrointestinal Issues

  • These include stomach cramps, nausea, and indigestion.
  • High doses and taking beta-alanine on an empty stomach can exacerbate these issues.
  • Taking beta-alanine with meals may help, as can reducing the dose.

Nervousness and Anxiety

  • In some individuals, beta-alanine can stimulate the nervous system, leading to increased anxiety.
  • Be aware of heightened feelings of stress or nervousness.
  • Lowering the dosage or discontinuing use can determine if beta-alanine is the cause.

Impact on Health Conditions

  • Individuals with existing health conditions, especially those affecting the heart or nerves, should use beta-alanine cautiously.
  • Potential impacts on these conditions can vary, and it is essential to consult healthcare professionals before beginning any new supplement regimen.

Interactions with Medications

  • Beta-alanine can interact with certain medications, including heart medications and neurological drugs.
  • Discussing your supplement plans with your doctor is vital to avoid any adverse interactions.

Safe Usage Guidelines

To minimize side effects, follow these beta-alanine guidelines:

  • Start with a lower dose to assess tolerance.
  • Increase gradually as needed.
  • Consider using a sustained-release formula.
  • Liaise with a Mr Supplemement professional before starting.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional if you have any pre-existing conditions or are taking other medications.


Beta-alanine can be a valuable supplement for enhancing athletic performance, but like all supplements, it is not without its potential side effects. By understanding and managing these adverse effects, users can safely incorporate beta-alanine into their fitness regimen.

Always prioritise safety and consult with professionals to tailor the use of any supplement to your individual needs and health circumstances.

  1. Artioli, G. G., Gualano, B., Smith, A., Stout, J., & Lancha, A. H. (2010). Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(6), 1162-1173. This study discusses the performance-enhancing benefits of beta-alanine and provides a foundational understanding of its role in muscle carnosine levels.
  2. Harris, R. C., Tallon, M. J., Dunnett, M., Boobis, L., Coakley, J., Kim, H. J., ... & Wise, J. A. (2006). The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids, 30(3), 279-289. This research explores how beta-alanine is absorbed and processed in the human body, contributing to carnosine synthesis.
  3. Derave, W., Ozdemir, M. S., Harris, R. C., Pottier, A., Reyngoudt, H., Koppo, K., ... & Wise, J. A. (2007). Beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103(5), 1736-1743. This paper specifically addresses the effects of beta-alanine on muscle performance and fatigue.
  4. Baguet, A., Bourgois, J., Vanhee, L., Achten, E., & Derave, W. (2010). Important role of muscle carnosine in rowers: a crossover, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 109(4), 1096-1101. It examines beta-alanine’s impact on high-intensity rowing performance, underscoring its sports-related benefits and potential side effects.
  5. Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Stout, J. R., Hoffman, J. R., Wilborn, C. D., Sale, C., ... & Jäger, R. (2015). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 30. This position stand provides a comprehensive review of beta-alanine’s safety and side effects, endorsed by a leading sports nutrition society.
  6. Saunders, B., Sunderland, C., Harris, R. C., & Sale, C. (2012). Beta-alanine supplementation improves YoYo intermittent recovery test performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 39. This study explores beta-alanine's effects on anaerobic performance and recovery, with notes on its side effects like paresthesia.
  7. Kern, B. D., & Robinson, T. L. (2011). Effects of β-alanine supplementation on performance and body composition in collegiate wrestlers and football players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1804-1815. The paper investigates the practical effects and potential side effects of beta-alanine in contact sports.
  8. Hoffman, J. R., Ratamess, N. A., Kang, J., Mangine, G., Faigenbaum, A., & Stout, J. (2006). Effect of creatine and β-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16(4), 430-446. This research discusses the synergistic effects of beta-alanine and creatine, including considerations of side effects in strength athletes.
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