Creatine and beta-alanine are two of the most popular supplements used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve exercise performance and body composition. Creatine is a compound found naturally in your body that increases production of ATP, the main molecule used for energy. Beta-alanine boosts levels of carnosine in your body, a compound associated with strength gains. Evidence indicates that combining creatine and beta-alanine can produce a number of positive effects. Consult your health care provider before taking supplements.
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Combining creatine with beta-alanine might improve your aerobic endurance, according to a study performed by researchers at Florida Atlantic University. They investigated the effects of the two supplements on indicators of aerobic endurance such as time to exhaustion and power output. Participants were assigned to one of the following groups: placebo; creatine; beta-alanine; or creatine plus beta-alanine. Scientists reported in the September 2007 issue of “Amino Acids” that those in the creatine plus beta-alanine group experienced improvements in markers of aerobic endurance compared to those in the other groups.
Strength and Body Composition
Creatine and beta-alanine may increase your strength levels and boost lean muscle mass. Scientists at the College of New Jersey studied the impact of creatine plus beta-alanine on strength and body composition, or the ratio of muscle to fat ratio in your body. Subjects performed weight training while taking one of the following for 10 weeks: placebo; creatine; or creatine plus beta-alanine. Researchers observed that those in the creatine plus beta-alanine group experienced greater increases in strength and improvements in body composition compared to those in the other groups. The findings were reported in the August 2006 issue "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.”
Scientists at the University of Oklahoma investigated the effects of creatine and beta-alanine on neuromuscular fatigue, or muscle fatigue due to exercise. Subjects were assigned to one of the following groups for 28 days: placebo; 5.25 g of creatine plus 34 g of dextrose; 1.6 g of beta-alanine plus 34 g of dextrose; or 5.25 g of creatine and 1.6 g of beta-alanine plus 34 g of dextrose. Before and after supplementation, participants underwent a cycling test to determine neuromuscular fatigue threshold. At the end of the test, scientists discovered that those in the creatine plus beta-alanine group experienced improvements in neuromuscular fatigue threshold compared with those in the other groups, according to research published in the November 2006 issue of the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.”
Creatine supplementation has been touted as being harmful to kidney function; however, research indicates otherwise. Researchers at Free University of Brussels in Belgium performed a review of creatine’s safety and found that it has no adverse effects on kidney function in those with healthy kidneys. The research was reported in the September 2000 issue of “Sports Medicine.”