Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch: Revealing 3 Factors Behind It

why does pre workout make you itch
Supplements and rope on the floor at the crossfit gym

Why does pre-workout make you itch?” is a common question among fitness enthusiasts who have experienced the skin-tingling, prickling sensation that can occur after taking pre-workout supplements.

People who are enthusiastic about fitness or are athletes consume pre workout as a dietary supplement to enhance their performance during a particular activity. These supplements are proven to increase energy, focus, endurance, and strength and are typically taken before a workout or training session.

Composition of pre-workout include beta-alanine, caffeine, and nitric oxide precursors to bring about the desired result during an activity.

In the market you  can find many forms of pre-workout by various health and fitness brands, in the form of drinks, powder, and capsules.

These supplements are proven to increase athletic performance, but on the other side it also has a potential side effect such as itching, which is the most common problem among the consumers. 

That is why it is necessary to collaborate with a professional who has knowledge in this field to find out what suits best for your body.

The itching problem after consuming pre workout is said to be a common side effect among users. This problem arises due to the presence of the ingredient beta-alanine. Beta alanine is an amino acid which occurs naturally and aids in improving muscle endurance and reduces the feeling of fatigue during heavy workouts. Individual experience with pre-workouts include tingling, prickling sensation on the skin, especially on the face, neck, and arms, especially when consumed in high doses.

This situation of itching can be termed as paresthesia and can cause distraction during the activity. While this sensation is common and harmless it can make an individual uncomfortable and hinder the user’s workout performance. But, not all individuals experience this sensation, this side effect and its duration may vary from person to person. 

Understanding the reasons behind pre-workout-induced itching is important as it can help individuals to choose between various supplements and brands that suit them best. It can also help in identifying potential allergies or sensitivities and help the user to take preventive measures.

Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch?

1. Role of Beta-Alanine in Pre-Workout Supplements

An ingredient called beta-alanine is one of among non-essential amino acids that are often included in pre-workout supplements due to its ability to increase muscle endurance and reduce fatigue. When ingested, beta-alanine is converted into carnosine, a molecule that helps regulate the acidity levels in muscles during exercise.

This allows the muscles to contract more efficiently and for high-intensity exercise for a longer period. While beta-alanine is effective in improving athletic performance, it can also cause itching as a side effect due to its ability to stimulate nerve endings in the skin.

How Beta-Alanine Causes Itching

Beta-alanine causes itching by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. It is reported that high consumption of beta-alanine can bind to certain receptors in the skin that are responsible for detecting pressure, temperature, and pain.

Followed by the sensation of tingling on the skin, this sensation can be termed as paresthesia. But the pricking side effects of beta-alanine differ from person to person and dosage consumption.

2. Other Pre-Workout Ingredients That May Cause Itching

Aside from beta-alanine, other ingredients in pre-workout supplements may also cause itching as a side effect. One of these ingredients is niacin or vitamin B3, which is commonly added to pre-workout supplements to increase blood flow and improve energy metabolism.

High doses of niacin can cause a flushing sensation on the skin, which is often accompanied by itching and redness.

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by JanPietruszka/Unlimphotos copyright 2022

Other potential causes of itching in pre-workout supplements include caffeine, yohimbine, and huperzine A, which can stimulate nerve endings and cause a tingling sensation.

3. Genetic Factors Influencing Itching Sensation

Genetic factors can influence an individual’s susceptibility to itch sensations in pre-workout supplements. The gene responsible for encoding the carnosine synthase enzyme, which converts beta-alanine into carnosine, can affect the amount of carnosine present in muscle tissue.

genetic factor
by creative pic/Unlimphotos copyright 2022

Some individuals may have a variation in this gene that results in a lower carnosine level, which may increase the likelihood of experiencing itching with beta-alanine supplementation.

Additionally, genes responsible for encoding certain receptors in the skin may also influence an individual’s sensitivity to itching. Understanding the genetic factors that influence itching sensation in pre-workout supplements can aid in personalized supplement recommendations and management strategies.

Impact of Itching on Pre-Workout Performance

The Extent of Itching’s Impact on Pre-Workout Performance

The impact of itching on pre-workout performance can vary depending on the severity and duration of the itching. For some individuals, itching may be a minor inconvenience that does not significantly affect their workout performance.

However, for others, itching can be distracting and uncomfortable, leading to a decrease in focus and motivation during exercise. In severe cases, itching may even be painful and limit the individual’s ability to complete their workout.

Additionally, prolonged or severe itching may also be a sign of an allergic reaction or another adverse event, which could further impact pre-workout performance. It is important to monitor and manage itching appropriately to avoid any negative impact on exercise performance.

Effect of Prolonged Use of Pre-Workout Supplements on Itching Sensation

The relation between the long use of pre workout supplements and the itching sensation is still not clearly understood. The itching sensation on pre workout consumption is said to be a common side effect to the user, because of the presence of beta alanine. But it’s still unclear about the fact of reducing itching to a long time user.

Certain individuals may develop a habit of beta alanine, which could result in decreasing itching sensation.

But, the long use of this supplement can also have an adverse effect on its user. As it can increase the  risk of developing adverse reactions or sensitivities to certain ingredients, which could lead to more severe or prolonged itching.

Thus it becomes very crucial to use the supplement as directed by professionals and monitor its side effects also.

Common Myths About the Pre-Workout Supplements

The more something gains popularity, the more myths surrounding it follow. And so is the case with pre-workouts.

One of the most common myths is that pre-workout supplements are magic pills that can transform your physique instantly.

While these supplements may boost energy and improve athletic performance, they cannot take the place of the effort and commitment needed to reach fitness objectives.

It’s a common misconception that taking more pre-workout vitamins is always better. Pre-workout supplement use in excess can be risky and can result in negative side effects or even overdose.

Pre-workout vitamins are sometimes misunderstood as being exclusive to bodybuilders. Regardless of your fitness objectives, these vitamins can help anyone trying to increase their athletic performance.

Whether you’re a runner, weightlifter, or fitness fanatic, pre-workout vitamins can give your routine the extra kick it needs.

Another widespread misconception about pre-workout pills is that they are completely risk-free. When taken as recommended, many pre-workout supplements are harmless, but others may include substances that could be dangerous or interfere with specific drugs.

Another common myth is that a great workout requires pre-workout vitamins. Although these supplements may increase energy and performance, they are not necessary for a fruitful workout.

Distinguishing fact from myth when it comes to pre-workout vitamins is crucial. Understanding the myths associated with these supplements will help you utilise them safely and effectively. Remember to follow the recommended dosage, consult with a healthcare professional, and focus on a well-rounded fitness routine to achieve your goals.

Management of Pre Workout Induced Itching

1. Over-the-Counter Medications

To stop the itching brought on by pre-workout vitamins, a number of over-the-counter medicines can be used. Antihistamines are a possibility since they can prevent the production of histamine, a substance connected to allergic reactions and a potential itch-causing agent.

medication pill top view
by Fahroni/Unlimphotos copyright 2022

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratadine are two examples of frequently utilised antihistamines (Claritin). Another choice is a topical lotion or ointment with an anti-inflammatory and anti-itching component like hydrocortisone.

Despite the fact that these medications may reduce itching, it is important to keep in mind that they do not address the underlying cause of the pain, which may be a sensitivity to a particular pre-workout supplement ingredient.

Changing the pre-workout supplement’s dosage or timing, or switching to another one that doesn’t cause itching, may be helpful in addition to taking medicine.

2. Changing the Dose of the Pre-Workout Supplement

One of the solutions to reduce the itching is to change the dosage and monitor the sensation. One method can be to begin with small dosages and increase in overtime. This will allow your body to adopt the supplement and reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions, such as itching.

You can also practise taking small doses throughout the day rather than taking at once to minimise its side effect.

It is crucial to remember that you should always get professional advice before modifying the dosage of a pre-workout supplement because high dosages or abrupt changes in dosage can be harmful and cause unfavourable side effects.

In addition, it’s crucial to carefully read labels and take any pre-workout pill as directed because taking too much of some substances might result in side effects like itching. Overall, changing the dosage of a pre-workout pill may be a practical way to lessen itching and enhance comfort and safety while exercising.

3. Usage of Alternative Pre-Workout Supplements

If this sensation of itching becomes a persistent issue, individuals must explore different supplements in the market and find out what suits them best. The market offers a wide variety of preworkout, and some may be better tolerated by certain individuals than others.

You can look out for a pre-workout supplement that does not contain beta-alanine, an ingredient responsible for itching. There are also some other ingredients which can cause this sensation such as niacin or caffeine. The best option would be to choose a supplement which does not contain these ingredients or has lower dosage.

A substitute for preworkout can be natural supplements such as beetroot powder, arginine, or citrulline can provide an energy boost without causing itching or other adverse reactions.

It is suggested to explore different pre-workouts available in the market that can be effective to you and at the same time does not hinder your workout. 


The article explores the question, “Why does pre-workout make you itch?” which is a very common problem faced by its users. Who had an uncomfortable experience of tingling, prickling sensation that can occur after a pre-workout drink.

Pre Workouts have gained immense popularity among fitness enthusiasts in recent times. However, the major cause of this sensation is the presence of beta alanine in pre workout. Taking beta-alanine causes itching by stimulating nerve endings in the skin, and the severity and duration of the itching can vary depending on the individual’s sensitivity to beta-alanine and the dosage consumed.

Yohimbine, huperzine A, caffeine, niacin, and other pre-workout supplement components can likewise activate nerve endings and result in a tingling feeling. An individual’s vulnerability to the itch sensation caused by pre-workout drugs might also be influenced by genetic variables.

Depending on the intensity and duration of the itching, the effect on pre-workout performance might vary, so it is crucial to monitor and control itching effectively to prevent any adverse effects on exercise performance.

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