The Pre Workout Tingle: Why Supplements Might Be The Cause
If you’re ever tried different pre workout supplements, you might have noticed what some people call the pre workout tingle. This is when you take a pre workout supplement, and it causes you to feel a bit tingly or even itchy.
Newcomers to the fitness world can find this very alarming, but some old pros actually find the tingle to be a comforting part of the routine. I don’t often feel the tingles, but the slight tingling doesn’t bother me.
Still, you probably want to know what is causing this tingle. I’ve done some research about which pre workout ingredients are leading to the tingly, itchy feelings. Here are the answers that you’ve been searching for.
Why Does Pre Workout Make My Hands And Feet Feel Tingly?
Most pre workouts include two common ingredients: Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and beta-alanine.
Beta-alanine helps you push out more reps at a higher endurance level, but some people actually have a sensitivity to beta-alanine. This means that you might feel tingling in your hands and feet (two areas with a lot of nerves) after using a pre workout.
This is a harmless reaction by your nervous system. While some people are very freaked out by it, it is not a sign of toxicity or anything life-threatening. Your nerves are simply functioning at a higher rate as the beta-alanine binds with them beneath our skin, and that’s why you feel the tingling.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
If a pre workout supplement contains niacin in very large amounts (greater than 500 mg in a dose), it can cause an itchy, flushed reaction. Your skin may become red and splotchy, and this is usually accompanied by an itchy or tingling sensation.
Some people really enjoy that effect, but if the pre workout that you are using also has caffeine, it might feel like too much.
These days, niacin is being used less and less because it actually blocks fat metabolization, so you’re unlikely to be dealing with its effects in some pre workout supplements. I would recommend using a pre workout that does not contain any niacin for this reason.
Choosing a pre workout with no niacin will make sure your fat can be properly metabolized for energy while working out, and it will lower the chances of you feeling uncomfortable tingling or itchy sensations while working out.
Why Do People Take Beta-Alanine If It Makes Them Tingle?
The reason that beta-alanine is still used despite this small side effect is because of all the positive effects that it can have on a workout.
Among other things, beta-alanine has been shown to:
Enhance training performance
Improve muscle strength
Enhance muscle recovery
This is why professional athletes, cyclists, HIIT athletes, football players, and more all use supplements that have beta-alanine in them. The substance is so great at improving muscle strength and endurance that the small, tingling side effect is often ignored.
Some people even like the tingling feeling as it shows them that their body is at work, so they don’t see why that should make them stop!
How Can I Prevent Beta-Alanine From Causing Tingling?
The easiest way to prevent this tingling from happening right away is to split your pre workout supplementation into two doses.
Take half the amount of pre workout that you would usually use 20 to 30 minutes before your workout. Then, take the second half about 20 minutes later, as you are beginning your warm ups. This will spread out when the beta-alanine hits your system, and you should be able to avoid all tingling by doing this.
When I started using a new supplement that has beta-alanine in it, I tingled for a few weeks. In particular, I got c4 pre workout tingle from taking Cellucor C4, which is a very common supplement. Over time, my body adjusted, and I don’t actually feel the tingling any longer. If you can put up with the tingling for a few weeks, all you need to do is give your body time to adjust.
Your body can adjust to beta-alanine because it actually creates muscle carnosine in your system, and you will have more and more of it as you take a supplement regularly. Having more muscle carnosine in your system will lower the chances of tingling.
Should I Take Less Of My Pre Workout Supplement If It Causes Tingling?
If you are concerned about your health because of this tingling sensation, the first thing I want to remind you is that you shouldn’t be. While the tingling sensation can be very unnerving, it is incredibly common and not dangerous to your health.
Remember that the tingling is being caused by the nerves being over-stimulated by the activation of beta-alanine. Your nerves are simply activating at a higher rate, which is actually part of the benefit of beta-alanine, even if it feels a bit uncomfortable.
If you can deal with the tingling feeling, there is no reason to take less pre workout.
If, however, you find it to be too uncomfortable to deal with, then I would suggest taking half the amount of pre workout or finding a pre workout that contains less beta-alanine. You can then increase the amount of beta-alanine in your pre workout gradually, and that should prevent the tingling from occurring.
Do You Feel The Tingle?
Whether or not you feel a tingle when taking a pre workout, you know why some ingredients in pre workout supplements can cause this type of reaction. Thankfully, these reactions aren’t life-threatening, but you should still be aware of what you are feeling and talk to a doctor immediately if anything changes suddenly.
There are some pre workouts that cause tingling more excessively than others, and it all has to do with the dosages. When pre workout makes me itchy, I simply lower my dosage or change to a supplement that doesn’t have as much beta-alanine in it. The pre workout tingle isn’t dangerous, but that doesn’t make it comfortable.
If you are finding that you are uncomfortable because of the itchiness, check the dosages in your supplement, and find one that lowers these amounts so that you can be more comfortable during your workout.