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Why Does Pre Workout Make You Itch?

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Why does pre workout make you itch is a question that worries a lot of sports fans. Side effects such as pre workout tingles are common. It’s good to understand them, why they happen, and if they could harm you.

You will learn what makes you itchy in pre workout and whether it’s dangerous for you. You will also know how long it lasts if you can prevent it, and which is the best option for pre-workout.

Why does pre workout make you itch? When you take a pre-workout product this specific itching that you feel on the neck, hands, and shoulders is most often caused by beta-alanine which is present in these products. This supplement is widely used among athletes who use it to improve performance.

Why Does Pre Workout Make You Itch

Ingredients in Pre-Workout That Make You Itch

To know why does pre-workout make me itchy you need to know what ingredients cause it. There are 3 main ingredients from which you may get itching when taking a pre-workout.

1. Beta-Alanine

As you already know, beta-alanine is the main ingredient that causes itchy rashes and skin irritations. But why does beta alanine make you itch?

When the pre-workout has at least 3 grams of the ingredient beta-alanine which is the optimal daily dose this specific itching is quite possible to happen.

This occurs because beta-alanine causes paraesthesia in our body. Paresthesia is expressed on the skin as burning itching or irritation, but this is in no way dangerous for us.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is another pre-workout supplement that can cause a similar skin reaction. But this is much rarer. There are two reasons why caffeine can cause itching and skin irritation. In the first option, you take too much caffeine during the day.

pre-workout drink in shaker

Apart from the one contained in the pre-workout you drink several coffees or other drinks containing caffeine. Thus the body gets over-saturated which can lead to this result. The other option is to be sensitive to caffeine; a dose of 200mg contained in most pre-workouts does not affect you well.

3. Citrulline

Citrulline is an ingredient that is found in a lot of pre-workouts. It accelerates blood flow to the muscles and increases the level of nitric oxide in the body. In some people, faster blood flow can be expressed as a skin reaction such as itching and irritation.

Already you know what makes you tingle in pre-workout? But is this dangerous? Studies show that it is not dangerous although the feeling is unpleasant for some people.

This sensation is a nervous system reaction and is nothing to worry about.

How to Avoid a Pre Workout Tingle?

There are some basic actions you can do when you want to avoid pre-workout tingling and itch from pre workout. 

creatine drink

The first tip you can use is to reduce the dose of the pre-workout you are using. If you’ve been using a larger dose or even twice a day, try cutting it in half to see if it affects the itch you have. Always use the recommended dose that it says on your pre-workout and if it is too much try a smaller dose.

You can split the dose of the pre-workout product several times during the day. This way, the amount of the ingredients that cause the itching will not enter your body at once but in smaller amounts at several times. This way, your nervous system will not react so strongly to the ingredients in the pre-workout and your skin will not react this way.

The third tip you can use is to see what other supplements you are taking if any. Taking supplements like beta-alanine or citrulline malate separately or drinking more caffeine during the day can have a big impact on these side effects.

If you are taking any of the supplements listed elsewhere stop them for a while and only leave the amount that comes from the pre-workout. On the other hand, if you drink several coffees a day along with a dose of the pre-workout it can bring itching and irritation.

Reduce the caffeine you take or eradicate it and leave only the caffeine that comes in the pre-workout.

Another thing you can do is change the pre-workout you use. Not everything on the market is good quality so you may have problems taking some products. Choose a quality pre-workout like Promix to ensure the problem is not the quality of the pre-workout you use.

Any pre workout tingles are caused either by a skin reaction to the high dose or by some specific ingredient inside. If these tips don’t help contact a doctor or specialist on the subject. He or she will be able to give you an alternative option of a supplement that won’t give you these problems or find a substitute for the ingredient that is causing your itching.

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How Long Does Pre-Workout Itch Last?

Usually, tingling from pre-workout lasts about an hour and then stops. The time may vary. People with more weight may feel the itch less and for a shorter time. Also, women are more likely to feel the itch longer and are stronger.

Our Recommended Pre-Workout

Promix Pre-Workout

Promix Pre-Workout
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Improved endurance and focus, delayed fatigue
  • Flavor: Various
  • Caffeine (mg): 200
  • Special ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, Vitamin B12 & C
  • Package Information: 30 servings
  • Serving: 2 scoops – 9.5g
  • Company Founded: 2004
  • Recommended by Athletes: Joe PhairAdam GoochKevin Prunty

There are many pre-workout products on the market but not all are of high enough quality to be worth buying.

 Promix – the pre-workout we recommend using it for a few main reasons.

  • There is enough beta-alanine to do a great job of improving our workout (3.2g).
  • Caffeine is 200mg which is enough to give you energy for a complete workout while not too much to harm your sleep.
  • Contains tyrosine to enhance cognitive ability and focus.
  • Suitable for vegans. You can use it even if you are on a keto diet.
  • No sugar and carbs.

Can I Gain Tolerance to Pre-Workout?

It is possible to acquire tolerance to caffeine in the pre-workout. If the product does not have the same result you can try a slightly larger dose or the better option is to take a little break from the product as well as caffeine in general. A period of 10-20 days would be enough for your body to respond to caffeine again. Then you can use it again.

Side Effects of Pre-Workouts

Some ingredients in pre-workouts can cause side effects.

Caffeine is the main one because it has the highest amount in such products. There are products on the market that contain up to 500 mg of caffeine in each dose. And only some people tolerate such a dose of caffeine well.

Such a dose of caffeine could cause side effects such as nausea insomnia anxiety and others. If you feel that it is giving you problems reduce the dose you are taking from the pre-workout to reduce the caffeine you are taking. Or choose a pre-workout with less caffeine in it.

Also, some of the ingredients in the overtrained can trigger digestive disturbances. Some of these are sodium bicarbonate, magnesium, creatine, and caffeine. Sodium bicarbonate can cause a problem just that in pretty large doses which are not found in pre-workouts in such quantity.

creatine powder

Magnesium can cause a laxative effect. These side effects can be avoided by taking the pre-workout with more water.

An ingredient that can also have side effects is niacin. In larger doses of more than 500 mg, niacin increases blood flow to the skin and therefore red spots on the skin can occur. It is not dangerous but if you want to avoid it try to take less than 500mg of niacin or take a pre-workout with a very low content of this ingredient.

Citrulline as you found out earlier can also be responsible for the itch. But it can also cause other side effects. Because of the increased flow of blood to the muscles, the brain also reacts and can cause headaches or migraines.

To get such a side effect you have to drink at least 6 grams. If this happens reduce the dose you take to avoid this problem.

Beta Alanine Rash

There are some more unpleasant side effects of pre-workouts than itching and that is the rash that can result from beta alanine allergy. If you got an allergic reaction from the pre-workout it means that your body did not react well to the ingredients inside or the beta-alanine.

preparing pre-workout drink

There are several reasons why you have a pre workout rash. The first option is that you took a very large dose of the pre workout. Another one, you have an individual sensitivity to the components of the supplement. Unfortunately, it can occur on almost any of them.

How to Stop Beta Alanine Tingles?

If the cause of the rash or skin irritation is from the beta-alanine which is most likely, you can use smaller doses, or if that doesn’t help take a pre-workout without beta-alanine.

We all want faster and stronger results. But in this case, a bigger dose of pre-workout will not bring us more benefits. The dose that is written on the product is estimated to be quite sufficient to get the desired result.

How Long Does the Pre-Workout Last?

The longest-lasting pre-workout has caffeine which can stay in our body for over 6 hours. If you are going to train late at night, drinking a pre-workout is probably not the best idea because it will disturb your sleep.

How Much Caffeine Is in Pre-Workout

If you go to work out at 6 pm and drink a dose of pre-workout at midnight you will still have caffeine in the body. Pre-workout is a great option when you have to go in the morning because one dose will wake us up quickly and will be efficient during the workout.

FAQ

Is It Bad if Pre-Workout Makes You Itchy?

No, it’s not bad. It’s a reaction of the nervous system because of the beta-alanine which is contained in the pre-workout. Usually, the feeling goes from 15 min to 1 hour and varies in some it is very weak in others it is felt much stronger.

If the itching is more intense one can experiment with taking one dose divided several times daily. This way the amount of beta-alanine that will enter your system will not be so much at once and the reaction will be weaker.

Is Pre-workout Supposed to Make You Itchy?

Yes, any pre-workout can cause it as long as it contains a sufficient amount of beta-alanine. There is a possibility that caffeine can cause it but it has to be in very large amounts or you don’t have a good tolerance to caffeine.

Another reason why pre-workouts can cause itching is overdoing the daily dose. Therefore, sticking to the optimal daily dose written on the product packaging is better.

Why Does Beta-Alanine Make You Itch?

When we take beta-alanine it triggers some neurons that make the skin tingle. This feeling is called paresthesia. If the irritation is not much and does not bother you there is nothing to worry about because it is normal for our body to react this way.

In almost all cases, reducing the dose or splitting it several times a day does work to eliminate this undesirable result. Of course, this will only work if you use a quality product as we explained earlier in the article. 

Conclusion

Pre-workout is a great product that can greatly help you with your sports performance. It has some side effects on some people which you already know are not dangerous in any way.

Moreover, you already know what to do if the side effects of the pre-workout are stronger on you.

Once you have all the information you need and know what to look for when buying a pre-workout would you try it? Or are you already drinking? Take a look at the pre-workout I explained earlier and let me know what you think of it in the comments section below.

Also read:

References:

  1. Mechanisms of Itch Evoked by β-Alanine // National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491570/
  2. Caffeine Tolerance: Fact or Fiction? // Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-tolerance
  3. Effects of Caffeine // National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306327/
  4. The Effect of Nitric-Oxide-Related Supplements // National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22260513/
  5. Photos made by Torokhtiy Media Team.

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Oleksandr Maksymenko

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko
Certified Sports Nutritionist,
MSc Sports Dietetics

Experience: 7 years
Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist certified by the Fitness Professional Association (FPA). He follows the principles of evidence-based dietetics and fosters a healthy relationship with food in his clients, ensuring there are no strict prohibitions on their favorite foods or frequent lapses. His primary goal is not only to achieve results for you but also to sustain them over the long term, all while enjoying tasty and delicious food.

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