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Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

Should You Be Worried?

Whether you’re a big-time fitness guru or you struggle to work out regularly, pre-workout supplements offer many advantages to enhance exercise. From muscle building to energy boosting - no matter your fitness goal, there’s a pre-workout supplement for that.

Unfortunately, pre-workout supplement advertising is usually much less upfront about a product’s side effects. In fact, some supplements cause just as many negative effects as positive ones.

Selecting the appropriate pre-workout supplement requires a balanced perspective of both positive and negative effects. This article outlines the major side effects of pre-workout supplements, from the annoying to the dangerous, as well as typical ingredients that cause them.

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    • [1] “CNS stimulants.”
    • [2] Zelman, Kathleen. “6 Reasons to Drink Water.” WebMD. 2008 May 8.
    • [3] WebMD. “Creatine.”
    • [4] WebMD. “Caffeine.”
    • [5] FDA. “Stimulant Potentially Dangerous to Health, FDA Warns.” 2013 Apr 11.
    • [6] Consumer Reports. “Dangerous supplements: What you don’t know about these 12 ingredients could hurt you.” 2010 Sep.
    • [7] Zeratsky, Katherine. “Are high-protein diets safe for weight loss?” 2012 Jun 19.
    • [8] “Too much protein may cause reduced kidney function.” Harvard University Gazette. 2003 Mar 13.
    • [9] Medline Plus. “Caffeine in the diet.” 2011 May 5.
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    Comments (18)


    January 14, 2014

    Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

    I recently started taking Neurocore Pre-Workout and the first time i took it i started getting itchy and my heart started to race a little, What are some things i should look for to know i should stop taking a product and what are normal reactions to all pre workouts?

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      January 23, 2014

      Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

      Hey Moses, that’s a great question and probably the one I get asked more than any other as it relates to pre-workouts supplements. The sensation that you’re feeling is called paresthesia and it’s triggered by the amino acid beta-alanine, one of the principle ingredients in your product. About 10 years ago beta-alanine broke through as one of the most promising pre-workout ingredients and since has become something of a staple in most pre-workout supplements because of how well it works. Unfortunately, it does cause that itchy feeling you’re noticing and sometimes can cause visible redness similar to a “niacin-rush.” There are no studies to suggest it’s in anyway harmful. If it’s something you’d rather avoid then look for pre-workout products that don’t contain either beta-alanine or niacin.

    nick rossodivito

    January 23, 2014

    neon volt

    i have only one kidney is taking neon volt a bad idea. i work out 5 times a week,each time taking a scoop and a half of this product, i was just wondering if this can cause any adverse effect on my remaining kidney

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      January 23, 2014

      Re: neon volt

      Hey Nick good question. One thing we know about caffeine is that caffeine has the potential to damage kidneys and has been linked to a specific type of kidney stone, but the caveat in most studies is that this link is usually found in those that don’t drink enough water. Depending on how long you’ve had only one kidney, I’m sure you’ve become accustomed to high water intake. It’s impossible to know how much caffeine is in Volt since it’s part of a proprietary blend, even at half a scoop. I would guess that it’s in the 100-150mg range per scoop, but again, impossible to know. It’s certainly poses some risks, so I’d just caution you to drink lots of water, aim for a gallon a day.


    May 24, 2014

    Any ingredients I should avoid

    Hey, I’m looking to try either No Explode or C4. Would you say these would be bad for my health. I read somewhere that No Explode contains ingredients that would link to causing dementia and cardio vascular disease and also contains aspartame which people say to avoid. I want to take pre workout but I am a bit worried!!


      August 30, 2014

      eye twitching

      I’ve been using neon sport volt Pre workout for a week now.. is it normal for my eye to feel as its twitching?


    January 16, 2015

    Sweating at random moments.

    I find myself sweating at random times, like in my bosses office or when somebody calls my name. Whenever I get nervous. I am not a nervous sweater. But ever since taking pre-workout I sometimes feel like my sweat glands just pour out sweat all the time. Is this a side effect from the pre-workout?



    March 21, 2015

    Excellent link to pre-workout side effects

    This is really good stuff, but I dint see the reply to Hellen’s qustion on NO Explode and C4 and what to take instead for energy?



    May 11, 2015


    First time i took c4 icy blue razz pre workout my whole body was itching and i had purple marks everywhere and looked like i was bruised it was also followed by severe itchyness.


    Marc Ghorayeb

    July 7, 2015

    Chest pain, left pec in particular.

    I started taking n0 xplode 2 days ago. I had a really efficient workout and felt great the whole time. About 6 hours later, I started feeling a really severe chest pain that lasted for an hour or two. What does this pain mean, and should I stop using the product?

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      July 7, 2015

      Re: Chest pain, left pec in particular.

      N.O. Xplode does contain compounds that may cause you to experience chest pains such as ingredients that activate nitric oxide production, creatine, and caffeine. This combination of ingredients can dilate the blood vessels and increase your heart rate which may be the cause of the chest pain localized in the left pec. It is best that you discontinue your use of N.O. Xplode and talk to your doctor about any other concerns you may have.

      July 16, 2015


      That’s the niacin in the c4, it isn’t bad for you. It’s a natural vitamin, in moderation that cleanses your system. People take it to cleanse their body before a drug test.


    July 21, 2015

    c4 and red volt

    i was wondering if i could still take my c4 pre workout when i start taking red volt?


    prince kumar

    August 8, 2015

    please help me

    Dear sir
    1 year ago I have taken GAT preworkout. But I have taken it in wrong way . I take this preworkout in night before exercise and my mistake is also that I have never take so much water and diet in proper way .after some days I feel some side effect on me like nervousness and some pressure on my left side please given to me some suggestions because I can’t enjoy my life

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      August 10, 2015

      Re: please help me

      It is highly recommended that you discontinue your use of pre-workouts and focus on eating a healthier diet and drinking plenty of water. If you find that the side effects you are experiencing do not diminish within a few days, it is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor as they will better know how to combat those negative side effects.

    mohammed moiz

    September 8, 2015

    pre work out

    hi sir i have one qustion im work out in gym mostly 5 years 5 days a weeks daiy 2 hours a day
    i have high b.p also im taking medition any problim to pro work out

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      September 8, 2015

      Re: pre work out

      Most often pre-workout supplements contain caffeine and stimulants to boost your workout energy and enhance your performance. Unfortunately, these ingredients can negatively affect those with high blood pressure and those taking medication. It is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor before using any pre-workout supplement as they will be able to provide you with a better answer regarding possible interactions of caffeine with your medication and high blood pressure levels.


    September 22, 2015

    Pre work out

    I took one serving of Arnold Ironman pre workout and I had a very bad reation that lasted two days. i never had that happen with the others that I took. I will never take that stuff again.


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