Do I Have a Beta-Alanine Allergy? – Truth About the Reaction

Beta-alanine is a common additive in pre-workout supplements. This amino acid is linked to increased strength gains and better endurance, but its side effects are quite polarizing. Some notice an itching or tingling sensation under the skin after they take it, which can cause worry of an allergic reaction. Keep reading to find out if you have a beta-alanine allergy or if something else is causing this reaction.

Can You Be Allergic to Beta-Alanine?

People can be allergic to most anything, including even sunlight or water, but it’s very unlikely to have a beta-alanine allergy. If you’ve noticed a skin-prickling sensation after consumption, like an itching or tingling feeling in your extremities, it is unlikely that is from an allergic reaction. Rather, it is just the most common side effect of consuming Beta-alanine in large doses.

Why Does Beta-Alanine Make You Itchy?

The itching sensation, paresthesia, is very common among those who take pre-workout supplements. The sensation will be most noticeable to female athletes and those with slight frames under 165 pounds, as their bodies will likely metabolize it more quickly than others, and have lower levels of fat and muscle tissue under the skin of their extremities where the sensations most commonly occur.

This amino acid affects sensory neurons. While it is great for muscle building, those increased sensory effects are also what can cause less desirable sensations.

Is Beta-Alanine Supposed to Make You Itchy?

Beta-alanine is not necessarily supposed to make you itchy. It is more that paresthesia is an unavoidable side effect when the amino acid is consumed quickly in large doses, such as on an empty stomach or in pre-workout supplements. [1]

While the itching from beta-alanine can be an uncomfortable or worrying sensation, it is not linked to any side effects that are harmful to one’s health and is perfectly safe to consume.

Other Side Effects of Beta-Alanine

The only notable side effect of ingesting beta-alanine is enhanced sensory experiences like tingling, itching, or a pin-prick feeling under the skin. As previously mentioned, these have no ill effect on overall health and are completely safe, though some find the sensations to be uncomfortable or distracting.

The most common way that beta-alanine is consumed is in pre-workout supplements, which are often high in caffeine. Caffeine can induce side effects like increased heart rate, anxiety, and headache. Ensure you drink plenty of water when you’re taking pre-workout supplements to help combat the negative effects.

Does Beta-Alanine Cause a Rash?

It is very rare that beta-alanine is linked to rashes or splotchy and red skin among those who choose to take the supplement. That said, absentminded itching of the skin can occur among those who may not notice the side effects as they come on, and this can lead to chafed and rashed skin. [2]

To avoid this, consider starting a workout with a full body exercise with minimal rest intervals (like a HIIT warmup or active stretches) while the effects will be most prevalent. This will give you less time to absentmindedly fidget and scratch at your skin during rest periods or while waiting for machines or spotters to come available.

How Long Does it Take for Beta-Alanine Side Effects to Wear Off?

How quickly your body can digest beta-alanine will depend on factors like body weight and other stomach contents. Most find that the tingling dissipates within an hour or two. If you’ve tried taking beta-alanine and are hoping to rid yourself of the tingling sensation as quickly as possible, adding a slow-digesting meal can help your body to slow its absorption. 

For bodybuilders, a combination of protein powder and oats can assist with this without veering too far off the course of their diet.

What to do if You Experience Side Effects or an Allergic Reaction to Beta-Alanine?

If you find taking the suggested dose of your preferred pre-workout leads to tingling or itching sensations that are bothersome, consider making minor changes to the way you ingest it, such as:

  • Take a lower dose so that you can monitor the effects and find a dose that doesn’t cause irritation
  • Try staggering your dose, such as taking half an hour before your workout and half thirty minutes beforehand. You’ll reap all the benefits with hopefully less intense side effects.
  • Take a slow-release beta-alanine supplement to dampen the intensity of the tingling
  • Take a BetaPrime™ supplement (a formulation of beta-alanine that’s supposed to reduce the itch side effect)
  • Take a pre-workout without beta-alanine – while it is a great ingredient, it is certainly not necessary for a workout, and there are many great pre-workout supplements that don’t contain beta-alanine at all.

Best Low-Dose Beta-Alanine Pre-Workout

Alani-Nu Pre-Workout
Alani Nu Beta-Alanine Pre-Workout

Alani-Nu is known for its inventive formulas, and its pre-workout with low-dose beta-alanine is no different. If you enjoy the boost from this amino acid but want to avoid feeling overly jittery, this is a great option to consider so that you get the best of both worlds.

Best Slow-Release Beta-Alanine Supplement

Klean Slow-Release Beta-Alanine
Klean Slow Release Beta-Alanine

Slow-release beta-alanine is another great alternative for those still hoping to prioritize the ingredient without feeling itchy while they are at the gym. With this slow-release formula, you can still capitalize on all the benefits of ingesting a full dose without the worry of such noticeable negative side effects.

Best BetaPrime™ Beta-Alanine Supplement

Ghost Size – Beta-Alanine and Creatine Formula
Ghost BetaPrime Beta-Alanine

Ghost created a pre-workout supplement that appeals to many because it is gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, and completely vegan. On top of this, they add an ingredient called BetaPrime, which is said to dampen the uncomfortable side effects that accompany beta-alanine 

Best Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine

Real Science PureForm™
Real Science Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine

PureForm is the ideal supplement for purists looking for the most benefits with the fewest unnecessary ingredients. This blend of caffeine and amino acids is designed to help an athlete have a focused and intense workout with no distraction from itching or tingling sensations.

Conclusion

It is easy to think an allergy is to blame for the noticeable side effects that often accompany the intake of beta-alanine. If the tingly sensations under the skin aren’t an unpleasant nuisance, they are perfectly safe and not of concern. If they are an unpleasant distraction, you may prefer to find a slow-release supplement instead or seek a pre-workout that omits the ingredient.

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