Nutrition supplements can be a scary world filled with a lot of false claims. There are a million supplements that claim their ingredients have the magic formula for growing muscle mass.
A lot of people come up to me wondering if creatine or beta-alanine is a better choice for gym gains.
Let’s take a look at what creatine and beta-alanine are and what they do for your muscles while you exercise.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound found naturally in your system. Creatine supplementation is popular because it helps with muscle strength and performance.
What Is Beta-Alanine?
Your muscle carnosine levels are critical for reducing lactic acid accumulation. Lower lactic acid levels allow your muscles to improve your exercise capacity.
What Does Creatine Do?
The most common version is creatine monohydrate. It’s the most researched, and it has scientific evidence of having health benefits.
There are other variants of this compound, but they are not as heavily research compared to creatine monohydrate.
Creatine... not only have research findings consistently backed up creatine’s efficacy, but new benefits pop up each year.
Kamal Patel, Director of Examine.com
But how does creatine work?
Here’s a quick list of benefits:
What Does Beta-Alanine Do?
Beta-alanine supplements boost your carnosine levels. If you have more carnosine, then you have higher chances of increased exercise volume.
The science can be a bit tricky, but here is how your muscles create fuel during exercise:
Less acidity means more power to put in your exercises.
Another benefit of this amino acid is the effects of body composition. Beta-alanine increases training volume, and one study  suggests that it can increase lean body mass.
Other health benefits of increasing your beta-alanine levels include:
Can Creatine And Beta-alanine Be Combined?
When Should I Take Creatine And Beta-alanine?
You could also consider taking them for some time during a loading phase.
For example, some people recommend taking 20 grams of creatine for 5-7 days and then switch to 3-5 grams per day.
Another recommendation is to “front-load” only beta-alanine for two weeks. Then you can start taking creatine in conjunction with it.
I would recommend talking to a health professional about what is best for you. For more information, see this in-depth guide on When is the best time to take creatine?
If you're dealing with the jitters, mood swings, and other side effects of stimulants in pre-workouts, we recommend checking out caffeine-free pre-workout supplements.
What Should I Look For In A Beta-alanine And Creatine Supplement?
I would first look at the ingredients list to make sure that you are getting the correct dosage. A proper supplement should have 2-5 grams of beta-alanine and 3-5 grams of creatine. Nutrition content will vary between people.
It’s not necessary to take more than that, and there haven’t been any reports of severe side effects if you do.
The second thing I would look for is looking to see if it has creatine monohydrate. As I mentioned before, it is the best and most researched version of the compound.
For those who are looking for good creatine that's not obtained from animal-based sources, here are our top vegan creatine recommendations.
Which Supplement do we recommend?
If you're asking which is the better
Most athletes I know also recommend this product, as it helps them achieve better performance during their routine.
It can’t get any easier to get the correct dosage to get the maximum effective results I want in a workout.
Do you currently have creatine and beta-alanine in your supplementation? Let us know in the comments what your results have been with it!