Ask The Trainer #163 – Beta-Alanine Tingle

Ask The Trainer #163 - Beta-Alanine Tingle


Hi. Is there any way to keep the tingling sensation going after a workout? I notice it after taking certain pre-workout formulas. I enjoy that tingling sensation during my workouts because it makes me feel more energized and focused. Is there any way to tell if a pre-workout supplement will cause that tingling sensation? Some products have it, but most don’t. Thanks.



Hi Raymond. I always find it interesting how some individuals just love that tingling sensation associated with certain pre-workout formulas. However, other trainees absolutely hate it! Like you, I happen to really enjoy it and actually look forward to that feeling.


In the world of science, this tingling sensation is known as “paresthesia”. It’s a Greek term that basically means “abnormal sensation”. Beta-alanine is the ingredient responsible for this short-term paresthesia. It’s actually a modified version of the amino acid known as alanine. But, it behaves quite differently in the body.

Once beta alanine is ingested, it rapidly converts into an amino acid compound called carnosine, which then works to buffer the acidity within working muscles.

This mechanism allows muscles to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time. Numerous studies demonstrate supplementing with beta-alanine can effectively promote exercise intensity, delay muscle fatigue, and increase lean muscle mass.

I should also mention the increases in muscle mass noted in some of these studies probably weren’t a direct result of the compound itself. Rather, the increased workload of the muscles due to beta-alanine supplementation made it possible.

Beta-Alanine Dosages

The tingling sensation (paresthesia) you described usually occurs within 10-15 minutes following ingestion of the supplement. Certain individuals who are sensitive to this compound might experience this tingling sensation with a dose as little as 500 mg. Others might need 5 grams or more before they feeling anything from it.

This tingling sensation is typically accompanied by a flushing effect, where the skin of the face, neck, chest, and possibly other parts of the body turn red and become somewhat itchy. Many describe it as feeling like a “pins and needles” sensation.

To me, the sensation feels much like the one you get from supplementing a moderate to high dose of niacin (vitamin-3). The flushing effect from niacin transpires through completely different mechanisms in the body.

Researchers don’t completely understand how beta-alanine causes paresthesia. But, many believe it has something to do with the stimulatory effect it has on certain nerves in the body. The good news is this sensation is basically harmless other than the fact certain people are annoyed by it.

Since you like the feeling, you can determine which pre-workout formulas might give you that feeling simply by browsing the ingredients lists to see if it has beta-alanine.

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Will You Get Enough Beta-Alanine?

However, this isn’t a fool-proof way to ensure the product you’re using will contain enough beta-alanine to produce the effect you’re after.

There are 2 reasons for this…

First, many supplement companies don’t tell you how much beta-alanine is included in their pre-workout products. Instead, they’ll just have a “proprietary blend” listed on the product label, where the ingredients will be listed. But, they won’t tell you how much of any ingredient you’re actually getting.

I’m always suspicious of companies who do this. They will include a great ingredient like beta alanine on their product label, but not include enough in the product to have any notable effects.

This why I LOVE EFX Sports Training Ground Pre! They list the EXACT amount of every ingredient per serving, so you’ll always know exactly how much you’re getting!

How Much Beta-Alanine?

The second reason you may not be able to identify a pre-workout supplement that initiates paresthesia is that you might not know exactly how much beta-alanine is required to produce this effect in your body? I generally feel the sensation when I ingest any dose over 1 gram. In contrast, I know some guys who claim they have to take over 5 grams to feel anything.

If you really want to ensure you’re going to experience that feeling, purchase a container of pure beta-alanine. Start with just 1 gram. Then gradually increase your dose 1 gram at a time until you achieve the feeling you desire.

You could also add some extra beta alanine to a quality pre-workout formula like Training Ground Pre, although many users report experiencing mild paresthesia from just the amount of beta-alanine already included in the product.

Beta-Alanine Tolerance

Since beta-alanine induced paresthesia is a short-term reaction, you probably won’t feel the sensation much following a workout. Of course, you could take a bunch more it after a workout. However, you would run the risk of developing a tolerance to it. This would render the supplement less and less effective every time you used it.

Instead, take it prior to training only, and then avoid taking it every day to avoid developing a tolerance. Additionally, take a 1-week break after 4 consecutive weeks of use. This will help you avoid developing a tolerance to the compound.

I wish you all the best of success with your health and training endeavors!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,

Chad Shaw

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