If you are new to pre workout, you may have noticed that you get a certain uncomfortable, itchy feeling shortly after taking it.
So why does pre workout make you itch? The answer lies in a standard pre-workout ingredient called beta-alanine. While intended to improve endurance, beta-alanine also has the undesirable effect of paraesthesia. It is harmless but can certainly be bothersome especially if you have never taken it before.
In this guide, we will scientifically break down the pre workout itchy sensation and discuss how you can pick a pre workout that will not make you feel itchy.
Why Does Pre Workout Make You Itch? Beta-Alanine Explained
The itch people typically describe when taking pre-workout can be best described as a tingling sensation that tends to be concentrated around the arms, neck, shoulders, and face. It will usually start around 15 minutes after taking the supplement and can last for up to half an hour.
What Makes You Itch In Pre Workout?
As already mentioned, the cause of this feeling is parentheses brought on by beta-alaine. The higher the dose in your pre workout (typically between (2g-4g), the greater the effects may be. You also have to be aware that the tingling sensation may be stronger if you have never taken beta-alanine before.
Is the Pre Workout Itchy Sensation Harmful?
No, the pre workout itchy sensation is not at all harmful. While it may be very uncomfortable and potentially distracting from your workout, it will not cause any sort of damage to your body.
Is Taking Beta-Alanine Worth The Itch?
For a long time, beta-alanine was thought to boost the production of carnosine and in turn, increase overall sports performance. For that reason, it became a standard pre-workout ingredient across the board similar to caffeine.
However, recent studies have shown that beta-alanine may not be as effective as initially thought. Far from the claimed benefits, beta-alanine was only shown to increase the time you can do high-intensity exercises ever so slightly.
Even more concerning, there is no clear answer when it comes to dosing. Some new research has suggested that it may take weeks of taking beta-alanine to see any sort of benefit.
Despite this, most pre-workouts still contain beta-alanine. This can likely be attributed to the fact that the tingling sensation at least makes users feel like they are taking a powerful supplement even thought the actual benefits may be marginal at best.
How To Avoid The Pre-Workout Itch?
If you pre-workout contains beta-alanine, you should be aware that the tingling sensation will not be as potent the more you take it. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that while the sensation never really fades, it becomes much less noticeable as the weeks go by.
Also, as with most other pre-workout ingredients, the effects will be limited depending on how much food you have consumed before. In general, pre-workouts will have more pronounced effects if taken fasted.
Lastly, you could just purchase a pre-workout that contains no beta-alanine. As we previously discussed, the recent questions regarding beta-alaine’s actual efficacy have led many brands to move away from the ingredient. A great option is Gorilla Mode. It is highly recommended, very popular, and contains no beta-alanine.
That being said, just be sure to check the label of any pre-workout can you will be able to see whether or not it contains beta-alanine.
Why Does Pre Workout Make You Itchy? Final Thoughts
The pre workout itch or tingles can be very uncomfortable and even concerning if you have never experienced them before. While harmless, the questions around beta-alaine should make you consider if taking the supplement is even worth it.
When it comes to me and the people around me, I am starting to lean more and more in favor of pre workouts that exclude beta-alaine.
How do you stop pre workout itching?
The cause of the itching is an ingredient known as beta-alanine. To stop the itching you can avoid this ingredient in your preworkouts or look for options that offer a more sustained release.
How long does pre-workout itching last?
Pre-workout itching usually occurs 15 minutes after taking it and can last up to 30 minutes depending on the dose.
Is it good for pre-workout to make you itch?
The itch caused by your pre-workout is harmless. However, the conflicting research on beta-alanine means that the itch may not even be worth it.