Pre workout supplement is intended to increase focus, boost energy, and improve your overall performance. However, you might have noticed that your pre workout may also make you feel itchy, especially around your neck, arms, and even your shoulder.
Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. In fact, this itchy or “tingly” feeling is caused by a common ingredient called beta-alanine and is also considered as a sign that your pre workout is working.
Recent studies on beta-alanine have shown to have proven performance benefits helping you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.
However, it’s not without a small side effect known as the beta-alanine itch generally experienced 15 minutes after taking your pre workout. Don’t be surprised if you’re scratching your neck and arms every time after each set.
So, how do you get rid of it? Is it safe?
We’ll go through everything in detail right here. But first, let’s understand a little bit more on beta-alanine and how it’s responsible in your pre workout making you feel itchy.
Why Does Pre Workout Make You itchy?
If you’re ever tired or feel lazy to go to the gym, pre workout is exactly what you need. It charges you up and will help you get the most out of your workout.
However, most pre workout supplements contain an ingredient called beta-alanine which may make you feel itchy. You’ll generally find irritation around your arms, neck, palms, and even your face.
A 2017 study suggests that this is because of beta – alanine activating G-protein-coupled receptors which are implicated in mechanosensation. Study suggests that these receptors transmit signals to the central nervous system causing this itchy sensation.
This “tingling”, “pringling”, and itchy feeling is called paraesthesia. It’s normally caused by taking higher doses of beta-alanine. According to research, the recommended dose of beta-alanine is between 1.6 to 6.4 grams per day. It is also advised that you split the doses to avoid or reduce that itchy or “tingly” feeling.
Unfortunately, pre workout supplements have about 1.5 – 4 grams of beta-alanine in one serving which is why it will make you feel itchy.
So, what is beta-alanine? Why is it important?
What is Beta-Alanine?
Beta-alanine, found in many pre workout supplements, is a nonproteinogenic amino acid that reduces lactic acid accumulation in your muscles during your workout.
When we exercise, our body requires oxygen which then breaks down the glucose for energy. Glucose is the main source of fuel required during high-intensity training.
The glucose is then broken down into lactic acid which is then converted to lactate, producing hydrogen ions (H+).
If this doesn’t make any sense, that’s okay but remember this: The hydrogen ions (H+) that is produced reduces the pH levels in your muscles. This makes your muscles acidic and hence leads to muscle fatigue.
This is where beta-alanine comes in. Beta-alanine, combined with histidine, can boost the synthesis of intramuscular carnosine. Carnosine essentially acts as a buffer against the acid, preventing muscle cells from becoming more acidic hence decreases muscle fatigue and increases exercise performance.
The benefits of Beta-Alanine compound are:
- Increase in exercise capacity
- Increased muscle endurance
- Decrease muscle fatigue
- Improved performance in high intensity training (lasting one minute or more)
Apart from pre workouts, beta-alanine is whole other sperate supplement taken by professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
However, regardless of if you take it separately or take it with your pre workout, beta-alanine will make you feel itchy and give you that “tingly” sensation.
Safety and Concern of the Pre Workout Itch
Although pre workout does make you itch, also known as paresthesia., there is no scientific evidence that states that it can harm you in any way.
Make sure you take only one serving of pre workout and don’t exceed this as it may result in excessive itching.
Also note that parasthesia is the only RESEARCHED side – effect of beta-alanine and overall, it is safe and effective to maximise performance, especially in endurance activities.
Beta-alanine Dosage and Itch Tolerance
Most people can tolerate that itchy feeling when taking pre workout supplements that contains beta-alanine. In fact, like creatine, research suggests that you can load beta-alanine by taking 3.2 grams per day for 8 weeks or 6.4 grams per day for 4 weeks followed by a maintenance of 1.2-1.6 grams per day.
Hence, our body can tolerate up to a maximum of 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day. If you aren’t supplementing beta-alanine and just taking pre – workout, you should be able to tolerate the itchy sensation since pre workout generally has less than 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per serve.
How Long Does the Itchy Feeling Last?
Pre workout will make you itchy around 15 minutes after ingesting it and this feeling will last for around 30-60 minutes.
So, yes. You will see yourself scratching your neck, arms, and your face.
But this is completely normal. In fact, paresthesia after consuming pre workout is a sign for me that my pre workout is working.
How to Get Rid of this Itchy Sensation?
If you’re pre workout contain beta-alanine and it’s making your feel itchy, then there is only one solution, be patient. The “tingly” and itchy feeling can last up to an hour, so you need to just wait.
Beta-alanine does cause paresthesia and if it’s your first time consuming pre workout, this itchy and “pins and needle” feeling might seem unbearable. I’d recommend trying to divert your attention and focus to your workout.
For some, this itchy feeling is what charges them up. I guess you do get use to it and overtime this itchy feeling won’t bother you as much.
You could also try and go for a pre workout supplement without beta-alanine.
Pre workout supplement will does make you itchy because of a common ingredient called beta-alanine.
Despite this ingredient offering various health and performance benefits, it does cause paresthesia. Generally, you will experience this itchy feeling 15 minutes after consuming your pre workout and it can last for up to an hour.
I hope this article helped you understand the effects of pre workout and beta-alanine. As always, stay Fit & Healthy and I will see you guys’ next week!
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