Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can be found in the body naturally. Athletes and sportsmen use supplements containing beta-alanine to reduce fatigue caused by high-intensity physical activity. However, a high dosage of beta-alanine has certain side effects, including beta-alanine itch.

How Long Does The Beta-Alanine Itch Last?

Paresthesia is the itching sensation that occurs due to beta-alanine intake. A study conducted in 2021 showed the effects of beta-alanine on a group of cyclists. They were given 20 grams of beta-alanine every day for a week. An itch resulted from the amino acid supplement, which lasted about an hour. Research also shows that a higher and consistent dosage of beta-alanine increases the chances of paresthesia in people. [1]

What Is The Beta-Alanine Itch?

A regular and high intake of beta-alanine can lead to a condition known as paresthesia. With this side effect, you can experience skin flushes and tingles, especially on the face, hands, and neck. The beta-alanine itch or paresthesia is a common side effect of using the supplement. It gets distributed across the skin and the nervous system. 

Even though you may think that beta-alanine itch can be dangerous, studies have proven otherwise. Moreover, the amino acid supplement is one of the safest supplements athletes and sportsmen use. 

Beta-Alanine Itch Not Going Away

There is no prevention method or cure for the beta-alanine itch. However, since the itch subsides within 1 hour, it is recommended that you wait it out. If the itch isn’t reducing or increasing, you should immediately contact your doctor and stop beta-alanine intake. Moreover, you should break down the dosage of beta-alanine into smaller portions to control the paresthesia side effect. 

Beta-Alanine Itch Duration

The beta-alanine itch normally lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. However, in certain cases, it has increased by an hour. Still, no strong evidence suggests this condition is prolonged over an hour. If the itch continues for over an hour, you should consult a doctor and cut down beta-alanine consumption immediately. 

Beta-Alanine Itch Cause

A study carried out in 2019 showed that the main reason behind this itch was the activation of certain receptors in the central nervous system. Beta-alanine activates the G-protein-coupled receptors, which transmit signals mainly to the skin. [2]

However, this is not the sole reason behind the beta-alanine itch, and the study found other factors inducing it, which include: 

  1. Ethnicity: The study revealed that paresthesia or beta-alanine itch was more common in Asian people as compared to Caucasians. 
  2. Gender: Paresthesia is more common in females rather than males. 
  3. Body weight: According to the study, people who weighed less than 75 kilograms or 165 lbs were more prone to getting beta-alanine itch than those who were more than 85 kilograms or 187 lbs. 

How To Stop The Beta-Alanine Itch

There is no guaranteed method of getting rid of the beta-alanine itch. You can only wait for it to subside and return to your normal routine. However, you can reduce the symptoms of the itch by switching to beta-alanine alternatives or consuming the supplement as a sustained-release powder or capsule. You should also be careful of the quantity you consume. Do not consume more than the suggested dosage of 6.4 grams of beta-alanine over 24 weeks. 

Alternatives Of Beta-Alanine 

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is produced in our liver naturally. However, some athletes require an extra boost in their performance to increase their beta-alanine consumption through diet. Some foods that contain beta-alanine naturally include:

  • Chicken 
  • Beef
  • Turkey 
  • Salmon
  • Whitefish
  • Pork
  • Tuna 

Creatine can also be used as an alternative to beta-alanine, even though they don’t have the same effect. Research conducted to find out which supplement had better effects showed that beta-alanine was more effective in increasing endurance in athletes. [3]

Benefits Of Beta-Alanine 

Beta-alanine is known to have a positive impact on muscles in the body. Most importantly, it boosts muscle carnosine which improves endurance levels in athletes. For athletes, this supplement also reduces fatigue, fastens recovery, and improves mental focus. 

Beta-alanine isn’t a supplement just for athletes and sportsmen. Add it to your daily diet to aid brain and heart health while improving the bone structure and immunity. Beta-alanine is a great source for enhancing brain and body functioning. You should use it in the recommended dosage regularly. 

Side Effects Of Beta-Alanine

Even though paresthesia is beta-alanine’s most common side effect, the supplement may have other possible side effects on the body. Some studies claim that beta-alanine depletes blood plasma and muscle-free histidine presence. This impacts the muscle protein synthesis process leading to complications. 

A study in 2019 carried out research to look further into this claim but found no proper evidence. 

The Bottomline

Beta-alanine is a naturally sourced amino acid and is produced within the body. However, athletes and physically active people might require amino acid supplements. Beta-alanine is proven to increase muscle carnosine levels, reducing fatigue and positively affecting the body. Nonetheless, it is better to maintain the dosage of beta-alanine within the recommended limits,

Recommended doses of beta-alanine lie between 4 to 6 grams per day for no more than 24 weeks. During the first 4 weeks, the muscle carnosine levels increase by at least 64%, and after 10 weeks, by 80%. Before adding beta-alanine supplements to your diet, ask your doctor, and if you get the beta-alanine itch, there is nothing to be worried about. If you’re not an athlete, you may also include beta-alanine supplements to improve overall health.  

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  1. Ávila-Gandía, V., Torregrosa-García, A., Pérez-Piñero, S., Ortolano, R., Abellán-Ruiz, M. S., & López-Román, F. J. (2021). One-Week High-Dose β-Alanine Loading Improves World Tour Cyclists’ Time-Trial Performance. Nutrients, 13(8), 2543. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082543
  2. Eimear Dolan, Paul A Swinton, Vitor de Salles Painelli, Benedict Stephens Hemingway, Bruna Mazzolani, Fabiana Infante Smaira, Bryan Saunders, Guilherme G Artioli, Bruno Gualano
  3. Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue 3, May 2019, Pages 452–463, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmy115
  4. Durkalec-Michalski, K., Kusy, K., Ciekot-Sołtysiak, M., & Zieliński, J. (2019). The Effect of Beta-Alanine versus Alkaline Agent Supplementation Combined with Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Creatine Malate in Highly-Trained Sprinters and Endurance Athletes: A Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Study. Nutrients, 11(9), 1961. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11091961 
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Farah Jassawalla

Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

Authors

  • Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

  • Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn

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Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn