Pre-workout can be a useful supplement for your fitness regime, but many people complain about an uncomfortable itch. So, what exactly is in pre-workout and what is causing that itching sensation?
Pre-workout itch is caused by beta-alanine, an amino acid found in many pre-workout supplements. While the itch isn’t dangerous, it can be uncomfortable and can last up to 30 minutes. To minimize itching, you can consume beta-alanine in lower doses or use a slow-release formula. If you want to avoid beta-alanine altogether, try caffeine pills or supplements with fewer ingredients.
Ready to learn more about the science behind pre-workout, as well as alternatives? Keep reading to learn what exactly causes the pre-workout itch and what your options are.
- How Long Does Pre-Workout Itch Last?
- Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch?
- Why Does Beta-Alanine Make You Itch?
- How Do I Stop Itching After Taking Pre-Workout?
- Can You Stop the Beta-Alanine Itch?
- Benefits of Pre-Workout
- Drawbacks of Pre-Workout
- Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine
- What Can I Use Instead of Pre-Workout?
How Long Does Pre-Workout Itch Last?
The pre-workout itch can be frustrating, but fortunately, it doesn’t last forever. Generally, the pre-workout itch begins about 15 minutes after taking a pre-workout supplement. Once it starts, it can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
How pre-workout itch affects you depends a lot on your genetics. For some, the itch never comes, while others may know it all too well.
When taken correctly, pre-workout is safe and helpful for athletes. Even though the pre-workout itch can be irritating, the benefits of using pre-workout on your endurance, strength, and overall performance, can make it worth it.
Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch?
Pre-workout supplements are meant to give you a boost of energy and help improve your performance throughout your workout.
Different pre-workout supplements have different ingredients, and some might work better for your body than others.
Some of the common ingredients in pre-workout supplements are caffeine, creatine, L-Citrulline, BCAAs, and beta-alanine. Each ingredient serves a different purpose:
- Caffeine provides energy
- Creatine and L-citrulline give you more strength
- BCAAs help provide fuel
Beta-alanine is super important too, as it helps prevent fatigue. Unfortunately, though, it’s also what’s responsible for giving you that itch.
Does Alani Nu Pre-Workout Make You Itch?
Alani Nu is a supplement store with supplements designed to help people train better and balance their hormones. Their pre-workouts come in a variety of flavors and have a lot of the usual ingredients found in pre-workout supplements.
Alani Nu’s pre-workout supplement does include beta-alanine, which means there’s a good chance it will make your skin itch or tingle after ingesting.
The recommended dose of beta-alanine is 2 to 5 grams per day. Alani Nu pre-workout only has 1.6 grams of beta-alanine per serving, which means it may not make you itch as much as other pre-workout drinks.
Why Does Beta-Alanine Make You Itch?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that can cause an itching or tingling feeling after about 15 minutes of taking it. The itchy or tingling feeling you get is referred to as paresthesia, and it’s harmless. So why does it happen?
Beta-alanine activates neurons in your brain which trigger the tingling sensation in your body.
When beta-alanine enters your body, it combines with histidine, an amino acid naturally produced by your body. When beta-alanine and histidine combine, they form carnosine which leads to improved athletic performance. While the itchy feeling is an annoying effect, for some it’s well worth the results.
How Do I Stop Itching After Taking Pre-Workout?
Thankfully, the pre-workout itch should go away naturally after about 30 minutes.
However, if the itch is particularly uncomfortable for you, or you just want to try something new, we have some ideas.
Here are two ways to get rid of the pre-workout itch:
- Take beta-alanine in lower doses. The recommended lower dose is 1.6 grams (just like Alani Nu’s pre-workout supplement). At a dose of 1.6 grams, you still might itch a bit, but the effects should be lessened.
- Use a slow-release formula. Some pre-workouts, or tablet supplements, will release beta-alanine over time. When smaller amounts are released more frequently, you still get the overall correct dosage, but you won’t feel the itch as much.
Can You Stop the Beta-Alanine Itch?
If you are taking beta-alanine in your pre-workout supplement, there will always be a chance you get the itch or the tingles.
However, by taking beta-alanine in a lower dose, or in a slow-release formula, you may not get an itch at all. If you are taking beta-alanine in a lower dose, you will probably want to take it more throughout the day to get the full effects.
There is also a new formula called BetaPrime. Some research suggests that this formula of beta-alanine won’t cause any itch or tingly sensations.
We recommend you do your research to see if this formula could be right for you.
Benefits of Pre-Workout
Pre-workout can be a great addition to your fitness and nutrition regime, but it isn’t for everyone. Here are some of the benefits of taking pre-workout:
- It can increase your energy. Certain ingredients, like caffeine, are known to improve your energy and focus. During your workout, this can help improve your overall performance because you won’t be distracted as easily or get tired as quickly.
- Pre-workout can help improve your recovery and decrease fatigue. This is a crucial benefit of ingredients like beta-alanine. When you work out, you’ll find that you need fewer breaks, and your muscles aren’t as fatigued from high-intensity training.
- Your workouts will improve your body faster. Ingredients like BCAAs and creatine will help you gain strength during your workouts and improve your lean body mass.
Drawbacks of Pre-Workout
Unfortunately, pre-workout supplements can have some side effects and aren’t a great fit for everyone.
Here are some of the potential drawbacks:
- Digestive issues as your body processes the supplement.
- Irregular heartbeat immediately after taking them or during your workout.
- Itching or a tingling sensation on your skin.
- Changes in your blood sugar.
- Raise your blood pressure.
While these drawbacks are significant, they are fairly rare. If you take pre-workout as it is directed, you may not experience any negative or noteworthy side effects.
Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine
While many pre-workout supplements include beta-alanine, many nutritionists argue it isn’t necessary to get a good workout.
- ONNIT Total Nitric Oxide. This is a pre-workout supplement with no caffeine and no beta-alanine. Instead, its main ingredients include L-Citrulline, Arginine Nitrate, and Beet Root. This pre-workout has great reviews for sustained energy.
- PEScience High Volume Nitric Oxide Booster. This one also has no caffeine or beta-alanine. Instead, it has L-Citrulline, Performance Pump Matrix, Arginine Nitrate, and Arginine Sulfate. It has great reviews!
- Pre Lab Pro. This pre-workout uses beetroot, beyond nitrate, and antioxidants to get you the best pump.
- Pumpsurge by Jacked Factor. This pre-workout has no caffeine and uses L-Citrulline, Taurine, & Betaine.
With so many options, there’s no reason to suffer through to beta-alanine itch if you aren’t enjoying the benefits.
What Can I Use Instead of Pre-Workout?
While many athletes swear by pre-workout supplements, the truth is that you have a lot of options to increase your energy and boost your workout.
Pre-workouts are comprised of a variety of supplements, but many of those same, or similar, ingredients can be found in everyday foods.
To help fuel your workout, consider eating fruit like fresh berries or bananas. Fruit is comprised of simple sugars, which means your body is easily able to break them down for fuel.
Consider adding salt to your diet before you work out. Salt can help you maintain the correct electrolyte balance, helping you stay hydrated even if you are sweaty.
If you are needing more energy, consider investing in caffeine pills. These will give you the boost of energy you need, but without the itch. They are also generally more affordable.
Supplements with Fewer Ingredients
You can also consider other supplements with fewer ingredients. This supplement contains only electrolytes and caffeine, helping you boost your energy without any of the other side effects.
Pre-workout may not be for everyone, but thankfully there are lots of options!