Can You Snort Pre-Workout? | Dangers Of Snorting Pre-Workout Supplements

Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

on December 9, 2022
Fikret Terzic

Written by: Fikret Terzic MD, MS

Before working out, many people use pre-workout powders. These powders are meant to be mixed with water and swallowed. However, some people have also tried snorting them. This behavior poses serious health risks, including nasal damage and overdose.

Many Ohioans use pre-workout supplements (also called “pre-workouts”) to help them achieve their fitness goals. These substances are said to enhance your workout by improving your energy, focus, and blood circulation. They contain various ingredients, such as caffeine, creatine, and amino acids

Pre-workouts come in multiple forms, including powders. As with other powders, it’s physically possible to snort pre-workout powder. Some people claim this practice boosts the supplement’s effects. However, that’s not true. 

Snorting Pre-Workout

When you snort pre-workout powder, you may not feel its effects at all

That’s because the powder is designed to be ingested orally and broken down by your digestive system. When you snort it, this process can’t occur. That means the supplement won’t affect your body the way it should. 

Dangers Of Snorting Pre-Workout

Along with being ineffective, snorting pre-workout powder may also have dangerous side effects, including nasal damage and overdose. 

Nasal Damage

Pre-workout powders contain artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that may irritate the mucous membranes in your nose. When you snort these powders, your nose may sting, burn, or swell. You may also develop other health issues, including:

  • nosebleeds
  • loss of smell
  • hoarseness
  • trouble swallowing
  • nasal septal perforation (a hole in the nasal septum) 

In addition, people who snort pre-workout powders face a higher risk of sinusitis (sinus infection). This condition causes symptoms such as:

  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • bad breath
  • cough
  • postnasal drip (excess mucus in the back of the nose and throat) 
  • headache
  • facial pain

If you think you have a sinus infection, talk to your doctor. When left untreated, sinusitis can lead to a deviated septum, serious allergies, and other complications.  


Most pre-workout powders contain caffeine. This central nervous system stimulant boosts your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. A single scoop of pre-workout powder may contain up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, which equals about four cups of coffee. 

When you use a pre-workout powder as recommended, the caffeine gets absorbed into your bloodstream slowly. However, when you snort the powder, the caffeine enters your bloodstream right away via blood vessels in your nasal passages. 

This may increase your risk of caffeine overdose. Common symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • anxiety 
  • irritability
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • trouble breathing
  • muscle twitching
  • seizures
  • confusion
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)

If you think you may be overdosing on caffeine, contact your doctor. When left untreated, a caffeine overdose may have life-threatening complications. 

Pre-Workout Addiction

To avoid the above health issues, don’t snort pre-work powder. Instead, use the supplement exactly as directed on the label. You should also ask your healthcare provider whether the supplement is right for you. 

If you feel unable to stop using pre-workout powder, you may be addicted to it. More specifically, you may become addicted to the caffeine in the powder. 

The most common symptoms of caffeine addiction are tolerance, physical dependence, mood swings, loss of motivation, and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. 

Pre-Workout Addiction Treatment

If you think you or someone you love is addicted to pre-workout powder, seek help at a substance abuse treatment program. These programs offer a variety of treatments, including:

  • medical detox, in which doctors can help you manage withdrawal symptoms in the early stages of recovery
  • mental health counseling, in which a therapist can help you cope with cravings and other mental health concerns
  • support groups, in which you can discuss your experiences with other people recovering from addiction 

To learn more about pre-workout addiction treatment options, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our inpatient treatment programs offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay healthy.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
  2. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition — Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Caffeine overdose

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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