Why do Pre Workout Tingles? (With Solution)

Updated on  February 25, 2023

Published By:  Samrudha Salvi

Fact Checked by: Jordana Tobelem, RDN & CPT

A short answer to the tingling sensation with pre-workout supplements is if it contains beta-alanine or niacin.

So every pre-workout supplements have different kinds of pre-workout ingredients but most pre-workout blends have a few common ingredient profiles like beta-alanine, caffeine, nitro oxide, creatine, taurine, citrulline, and tyrosine (branched-chain amino acids), etc.

Then there are also other pre-workout supplements that do not have beta-alanine but then they are a little on the expensive side.

What is beta-alanine and why does cause tingling or itchy skin?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps in muscle endurance. The beta-alanine helps in producing carnosine. Carnosine is a compound that helps increase muscle endurance during high-intensity exercises. Carnosine plays a critical role in balancing the pH of muscles.

So beta-alanine combines with histidine for synthesis to make carnosine which helps in maximizing exercise performance and limits neuromuscular fatigue while workout.

In spite of the positives of beta-alanine for the body, it's still very unknown why it causes the tingling sensation, though a most recent study believes that the same is caused by the presence of neurons in the skin which sends signals to the brain of itching. This sensation of itchy skin is referred to as paresthesia. (1)

Is it harmful to you?

Nothing to be alarmed by it though. It's a harmless nervous system reaction and is generally observed within 15 mins of consuming pre-workouts and can last up to 30 minutes.

A recommended quantity is up to 2 gm of beta-alanine and anything exceeding that may trigger an itchy skin sensation, though it lacks scientific evidence to prove so.

What is niacin flush? and does it cause a skin itching sensation?

Niacin or vitamin b3 is another ingredient that is also part of most pre-workout formulas, its an important vitamin necessary for our bodies.

Niacin is commonly found in most of our food like turkey, chicken, tuna, liver, yeast, milk, meat, tortillas and cereal grains, etc. And since it's available in our regular diet most of us consume enough of it. An average adult requires around 14-16 mg of niacin per day.

Niacin flush is also commonly referred to as caused by high doses of niacin. Which may cause ruddy color in the skin areas around the neck and face. It's triggered by the skin's immune system which triggers when it feels allergic reactions. These cells stimulate a reaction that causes dilation of vascular which thereby increases blood flow and reddish appearance of skin and can lead to a tingling feeling or itchy skin. This phenomenon is also called skin flushing.

Some pre-workouts have a regular amount of niacin but if you still experience skin flushing then it's most likely you have reached your upper limit of niacin requirements after consuming pre-workout products with your other food consumption.

What are the potential benefits of beta-alanine and niacin?

Beta-alanine enters the body and binds with amino acid histidine and forms carnosine. Carnosine helps in removing the hydrogen ions which are a waste product of muscle contraction. So it helps in removing hydrogen ions that build up in muscles which leads to an acidic environment and it leads to muscle fatigue and tiredness of muscle.

Supplementing a pre-workout supplement with beta-alanine helps in removing the hydrogen, which leads to better muscle strength and also boosts energy levels. It also helps in high-intensity exercise by increasing blood flow to your muscles and removing ions.

Vitamin b3 / niacin is a b vitamin that's made and used by our body which turns food into energy. It not only helps the nervous system but also our digestive systems and helps keep skin healthy.

Niacin is a necessary part of daily multivitamins. It is also used to control cholesterol. (2)

What is the right quantity of beta-alanine and niacin?

Anywhere up to 1-2 gms of beta-alanine supplementation per time is considered sufficient

Well, taking beta-alanine supplementation in its pure form is also available and some do take it in its pure form, wherein each serving scoop is around 3.2 gms.

The recommended quantity for niacin is 16 g for men and 14 mg for women who aren't pregnant. The maximum daily intake for all ages for niacin is 34 mg (3).

Most pre-workout supplements contain enough amount of beta-alanine which can take care of one's daily requirements.

Who takes pre-workout supplements with beta-alanine?

The pre-workout supplement acts as an energy booster to improve strength and endurance. After taking a pre-workout supplement one would experience a high amount of concentration and increased strength thereby it can give you a last-mile boost to increase your repetitions and your weight lifting capacity.

In most pre-workout formula which contains beta-alanine, the ingredient works to increase muscle strength and athletic performance. Also by boosting the blood flow to the muscles by increasing vascularity.

What are the alternate pre-workout supplements without beta-alanine?

Well if you wish to continue using the pre-workout supplements then you can start with half scoop first and then slowly move on to full scoop to see if it workouts for you.

Though if the skin tingling continues and if it makes you very uncomfortable and it lasts quite long then you can switch to the other pre-workout formulas without beta-alanine. The Pre-workout supplements without beta-alanine are also effective for your workout routine they replace those two ingredients with ingredients that can help away with side effects.

Also, the best pre-workout that doesn't make you itchy is from Pre Labs Pro.


International society of sports nutrition position stand on beta-alanine, a very comprehensive study on the use of beta-alanine supplements in muscle building came with the following findings: (4)

  • Four weeks of beta-alanine was found to significantly increases muscle carnosine concentrations
  • Taking pre-workout supplements with beta-alanine appears to be safe in healthy populations but at recommended doses.
  • Daily supplementing with 4 to 6 gms for at least 2 to 4 weeks has shown to improve not only exercise performance but also more pronounced effects in endurance exercises.
  • Instead of taking beta-alanine in pure form, supplementing it with other multi-ingredient supplements was found to be advantageous.
  • Among older subjects, betta alanine was found to attenuate neuromuscular fatigue.

So if you are okay with a tingling feeling, there is no harm in continuing with your pre-workout supplements with beta-alanine but if it persists for a long period of time do consult your healthcare professional.

Samrudha Salvi ‧ Co-Founder & Nutritionist (Stanford)

Samrudha is a certified nutritionist and also a Co-founder for Welcyon.com. He has also featured in many publications including CNBC, Entrepreneur amongst others. He brings more than 10 years of experience with him. 

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