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.
A second study by Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O'kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M.(2006)2, analyzed the aerobic benefits of beta-alanine as a stand alone supplement compared to the creatine/beta-alanine combination. 55 subjects participated in the study, and it was revealed that “a significant time effect” was observed for the individuals supplementing with the creatine/beta-alanine combination, in 5 out of the 8 measured parameters. Simply put, researchers noted that creatine used with beta-alanine boosted endurance performance.
Lyle McDonald, author of The Protein Book and The Ketogenic Diet and a renown body recomposition expert, had this to say regarding the combination of beta-alanine and creatine:
Relatively speaking, beta-alanine (an amino acid derivative) is fairly new on the block. As a matter of background, beta-alanine along with the amino acid histidine are used by the body to make a skeletal muscle buffer called carnosine (which is also sold for supplementation). Athletes involved in high intensity activities such as sprinting and bodybuilding have been found to have higher carnosine levels than endurance athletes and carnosine has been suggested to improve performance by helping to buffer acidosis. However, at least in animals, beta-alanine seems to work more effectively at raising tissue carnosine levels. At the very least, it's cheaper and you need less of it.
Two studies came out last year examining the impact of beta-alanine supplementation on human carnosine levels and found an effect, high intensity bicycle performance was also increased. Recently, the idea that stacking creatine with beta-alanine has been suggested. In premise, by buffering acidosis, beta-alanine might allow a lifter to get more reps at a given load; like creatine this would be expected to improve the rate of gains.
It is apparent that beta-alanine works as an effective amplifier for creatine, providing more endurance, strength, fat loss and muscle gain. The next time you cycle creatine, try stacking it with beta-alanine. Both supplements are very inexpensive, and just may well be the best bang for your buck in the entire supplement realm.
The creatine and beta-alanine supplement stack is a must try. It is inexpensive, and potentially the best legal and natural performance aid in the supplement industry.
More About Beta Alanine
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:
- Beta-alanine boosts explosive strength and power.
- Beta-alanine increases muscle mass.
- Beta-alanine heightens muscular anaerobic endurance.
- Beta-alanine increase aerobic endurance.
- 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. Aim for a range of 4 to 6 grams per day.
- 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. Here are some possible beta-alanine/creatine cycle approaches:
The 12 Week Cycle
This is an extended cycle for individuals who prefer to stay on creatine as long as possible. Beta-alanine is not front loaded during this cycle. Start both supplements at the same time, and don’t forget to add in taurine supplementation as well.
- Weeks 1 to 12. Creatine
- Weeks 1 to 12. Beta-alanine
12 Week Front Loaded Cycle
This cycle will have you front loading beta-alanine for 2 weeks prior to starting your creatine cycle. When you begin taking creatine, you should hit the ground running and feel some impressive benefits.
- Weeks 1 to 12. Beta-alanine.
- Weeks 3 to 12. Creatine
8 Week Cycle
This 8 week cycle uses the same approach as the 12 week cycle. There is no front loading of beta-alanine. You will gradually see an increase in benefits, and by the end of the 8 weeks your performance will be peaking.
- Weeks 1 to 12. Creatine
- Weeks 1 to 12. Beta-alanine
4 Week Creatine Cycle
For many, creatine supplementation works too well. If you’re like me, you get strong back pumps and prefer to stick with shorter creatine cycles. In this case, I recommend running 4 weeks of beta-alanine prior to running your creatine cycle. This will maximize the benefits of the creatine/beta-alanine stack for the entire 4 week period, heightening muscle growth, and strength and performance gains.
- Weeks 1 to 8. Beta-alanine
- Weeks 5 to 8. Creatine
A very small percentage of lifters receive little to no benefit from creatine supplementation. I still recommend that these trainees try the creatine/beta-alanine stack. As for everyone else...this supplement stack is a must try. It is inexpensive, and potentially the best legal and natural performance aid in the supplement industry.
Some of the brightest names in the supplement game trumpet the exciting possibilities of the beta-alanine/creatine combination. The stacking of these supplements just may be the most under-hyped, best kept secret in the industry.
(1) Hoffman, J., et al. (2008). Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. In press.
(2) Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O'Kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M: Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion. Amino acids 2007, 33(3):505-510.
i have heard of the creatine and beta alanine stack, i bought the cgt10 from ON which has creatine glutamine and taurine, is it safe? or should i use only monohydrate creatine?
Hey I like this article.im going to give it a try.im 172 pounds and have 17% all together. I want more muscle and what to know what dosage you would recommend me for a pre-workout and post-workout.i just really want the main ingredients.anything minor like taste I'll probably adjust myself.
Will beta alanine make me gain much weight? Will all my muscles gain more carnosine mass, or primary the ones being worked?
how are we support to stack together because normally u take beta-alanine as pre-workout and creatine as post-workout.
Thanks for the great article, and all the info. A question for you. What do you think of mixing Creatine with COR-Performance β-BCAA which has BCAA, beta alanine, and Citruline. Would this be ok, or overload of ingredients.
so when you get done with the 12 week cycle how long do you wait to go back on it
Very well explained Steve. I´ll try this combination.
Thank you very much (From Brazil).
hey steve great artical i am on creatine at the min love the stuff last time went on beta-aline i was getting headaches does this happen and you push threw or whats the problem?? thanks
Hey. I was wondering which of the 12 week cycles do u prefer the most because I want to use creatine for as long as possible but don't know which 12 week cycle works the best?
I have three questions for you please ............
1. Should Creapure dissolve in cold water? (The stuff I have isnt doing and I wonder whether it is actually creapure or not.)
2. Should I take both Beta and Creapure at the same time in the same drink?
3. Have you ever heard of either of these products causing stiffness in the morning? (My back is very stiff in the morning. When I had to take some time off of the gym I stopped taking Beta and Creapure and the problem stopped. I am about to start training again and so started taking both Creapure and Beta and this morning I was a stiff as a board again.)
Many thanks in advance
Does anyone know if it's ok to mix up say 1 litre of juice and beta alanine then drink throughout the day or does the beta alanine lose it's effectiveness if not taken straight away.
Just a quick question. With the creatine, does it have to be mono hydrate or can it be the kre-aylkalyn? I use the kre-aylkalyn because I don't need the extra water retention.
Either is perfectly fine.
Steve you are my idol, your wisdom seems the limitless
In my many years of experience with stacking the creatine and Beta Alinine I have noted that massive pumps are achievable when enough H20 consumption is consumed. Creatine is looked down upon sometimes saying it causes the bloat which may be true but hard work always shines though. You can do it. Definitely try the stack. DO IT.
I have to boys who are wrestlers 17 and 15, is the BA/creatine stack safe for them?
While it's always a good idea to double check with a physician, I don't see any problem with a BA/Creatine stack.
How long does it take for a diet to kick in? Should I wait at least a month into workout before starting two workorkouts a day or can I do that at the beginning too?
Can I start this stack when I first begin to workout?
Yes. Take a close look at your diet before worrying about supplements, but I highly recommend these for any experience level.
gonna try this for spring. Any suggestions on supplement brands? Are there any with both ingredients close to recommended dosage/grams used in this study?
Will taking beta alanine and creatine monohydrate help me get big and ripped? Thanks for ur anwsers...
Fantastic article,thank you for your good advice. going to start useing your method immediately.
How do you think this stack is... Jack3d, gaspari sizeon,beta alanine,and taurine all in the recommended doses you said above. Also will it help In fat loss at all?
if i take the front loaded cycle for BA, does that mean i can front load creatine at the same time? or do i just front load one or the other.
Great article I have been off and on creatine for a few months but because I play very cardio requiring sports i normally get dehydrated when im on creatine in my games I hope this beta alanine will improve my endurance
I'm thinking about taking L glutamine with this stack, is this ok? If so how can I incorporate this into this stack, and also how often should I take it?
Hello and good afternoon Steve! Didn't see any women posts on here (as far as I could go reading all the comments, lol!) so I will be maybe the first to ask! Will this work for women also? I use creatine monohydrate but would like to try the extra boost of the BA... Thank you in advance for your response ;-)
I'm using creatine, but after reading this, i will try with alanine also.
What i wondered, how does l-arginine mixes in all of this, i heard good things about that supplement. Is it okay to stack it with these, or not?
i am trying to find out if stacking beta-k and creatine monohydrate is effective or pointless seeing how the beta-k has kre-alkiline which from what i can tell is bufferd creatine? has anyone ever stacked creatine monohydrate with beta-k which consisted of beta-alanine & kre-alkiline?
can anyone shed some lite on this for me.
I would recommend asking this question on the forum:
Someone from the community may have tried this.
Oh and one more - When do you take BA? Are we going for workout days only or everyday since it's building up over time?
7 days a week. You want to keep as steady of a stream as possible.
I've been reading about this stuff all morning/some afternoon, but still can't get a straight answer on a few things.
1) When you take take the creatine/BA stack and you're off the cycle, do you stop taking both creatine and BA or just Creatine? My understanding was the BA just causes a build up of carnosine over time. So not sure why you would need to cycle off of it?
2) How does a preworkout supplement like Jack3d play into all this? I've been using that for awhile, and after some research, found that it had pretty much everything that's been discussed above (BA, creatine, L-arginine, and some other stuff).
1) In general there is no urgent need to cycle beta alanine. I mainly recommend cycling off both to save a bit of money when off creatine. Many pre-workout formulas have beta alanine in them and it's not uncommon for trainees to use it year round.
2) Jacked has about 3 grams of creatine. If using Jack3d I would still recommend about 5 grams of creatine post-workout, and creatine on off training days. Also, the beta-alanine in jack3d is minimal. As mentioned in the article, it's best to take in beta alanine several times per day at regular intervals. So jack3d helps some, but is not a complete creatine/beta-alanine supplement in and of itself.
When taking 800 mg 4 times per day, must I take creatine with it every time? If so, how much? Take taurine separately? During the 12 week cycle is it necessary to supplement on rest days?
No you don't need to take creatine with the beta-alanine. Taurine you can take when convenient. I tend to put some into my protein shakes. It mixes rather well.
You will need to run this stack on off training days.
What do you thin of this stack: mono, beta alanine, arganine, and maltodextrin ? Post would be protein shake, mono, what else?
That looks good Manuel. i would suggest adding a multivitamin and fish oil at some point during the day.
would this be correct for an 8 week cycle of creatine, beta Alk and taurine?
Beta Alk 750mgs dose every 4 hours ie. 1 cap of now beta pill.
taurine 3g dose WITH Beta Alk every 4 hours
same as above but add 10g dose of dyamatize creatine mono once a day.
after 8 weeks end creatine and beta Alk for at least 4 weeks but continue to take one dose of taurine 4 times daily for weeks 9-11.
That looks good. It appears that a solid range of beta-alanine to be within is 4-6 grams per day, so I would try to come lose to the 4 gram mark. I suggest 3/4 grams with every protein feeding if you want to keep things real simple.
While there is certainly potential for problems when taking these two together beta alanine & taurine(they share the same transporter into tissues), how can i take them at the same time?
I started the combi Creatine, Beta Alanine and Taurine 3 weeks ago and it seems to work. INstead of normal Creatine Monohydrate i use the potent Kre Alkalyn. I also use Whey proteine with it.
Even i am only using it 3 weeks now i already gained around 10% strenght in most exercises, much more then in previous cycles where i only used Creatine with Whey.
I just bought creatine and beta alanine to start my 12 week cycle. I bought 500 mgs of taurine, should I take one every time I take a beta alanine?
Do you think I should try creatine for a month or so, possibly give it a week break then do a cycle with creatine and beta alanine? if not how would you suggest I go about it? Thanks
It's not a bad idea to use creatine for a month first, then take a break for a month, and if you like it running a big cycle as detailed in this article.
ive never taken creatine or beta alanine. im thinking of doing the 12 week cycle..what do you think? also do i need to load on the creatine and/or beta beta alanine?
Creatine is hands down the best muscle and strength building supplement on the market. It's also fairly cost effective. I would give it a try at least once.
I have a question in regards to supplements. In the supplement guide it describes the creatine bata-alanine stack and how it must be cycled. My question is how long should the off cycle be and also if any of the other supplements listed above in the supplement guide need to be cycled.