Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch? The Beta Alanine Tingling Effect

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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In the world of fitness and bodybuilding, pre-workout supplements are increasingly gaining popularity.

These energy-boosting concoctions have proven to be beneficial in enhancing workout performance, thereby helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts reach their goals.

However, a common question often emerges – “Why does pre-workout make you itch?” This peculiar sensation, also known as the beta alanine tingling effect, is a common, yet misunderstood, part of the pre-workout experience.

Understanding Beta Alanine and Paresthesia of Skin

why does pre workout make you itch

The itching sensation often associated with pre-workout supplements is primarily due to an ingredient called Beta Alanine.

Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that’s naturally produced by the body and is also present in foods like chicken, beef, and fish.

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It’s included in pre-workout formulas because of its role in synthesizing carnosine, a molecule that helps buffer acid in muscles, thereby increasing physical performance and endurance.

So, why does beta alanine cause this tingling sensation or paresthesia of the skin?

When beta alanine is ingested, it binds to nerve receptors, causing them to fire more frequently, which leads to a tingling sensation.

This sensation is most often felt on the skin of the face, neck, and back of the hands.

While it can be alarming for those new to pre-workout supplements, it is generally considered harmless and temporary.

Unveiling the Mystery: Why Is My Face Tingling?

itch in face from pre-workout

The beta-alanine in pre-workout supplements can cause a tingling sensation, often most pronounced in the face. But why is this the case? The scientific explanation lies in the distribution of nerve endings in our skin. The face and neck have a high concentration of nerve endings, making them more sensitive to the effects of beta-alanine.

So, when you consume your pre-workout supplement, it’s common to ask, “Why is my face tingling?” It’s simply a result of the beta alanine interacting with your nerve receptors.

How to Get Rid of Pre-Workout Itch?

While the pre-workout itch is harmless, it can be distracting or uncomfortable for some. Here are a few strategies to mitigate this effect:

  1. Reduce your dosage: If you’re new to pre-workouts or find the tingling sensation too intense, try reducing your dosage. This can help your body adjust to the beta alanine more gradually.
  2. Try a time-release formula: Some pre-workout supplements contain a time-release form of beta alanine designed to reduce the intensity of the tingling sensation.
  3. Eat before you consume your pre-workout: Having a meal before taking your pre-workout can slow down the absorption of beta alanine, which may lessen the itching sensation.
  4. Stay hydrated: Hydration is key to overall health and can also help alleviate the itchiness caused by pre-workout supplements.

What Makes You Itch in Pre-Workout Supplements?

To summarize, the primary ingredient that causes itching or tingling in pre-workout supplements is beta alanine.

This effect, known as paresthesia, is a harmless and temporary side effect.

It is considered a sign that the supplement is beginning to work, with the body responding to the influx of beta alanine. While it may be uncomfortable for some, there are ways to manage this sensation.

Understanding what’s happening in your body can make the experience of taking pre-workout supplements more comfortable and less alarming.

As with all supplements, it’s important to use them responsibly and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

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