Doctors have warned against the new trend of swallowing pre-workout powder or dry scooping challenge on TikTok and say the concentrated doses of caffeine consumed may lead to the death after one influencer suffered a heart attack.

Dry scooping challenge is to ingest protein powder by eating it directly from a spoon without diluting it with water. While protein powders are designed to be mixed with some amount of water.

Directly ingesting the powders can lead to heart and lung seizures and even death

The trend has racked up eight million likes on TikTok alone, and could lead to serious side effects or overdose, according to research presented at the 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition.

I think most people view dry scooping as a silly, harmless trend, when in reality it is a dangerous practice. It is a particularly risky method of consumption. The highly concentrated powder can lead to choking, accidental inhalation, over-consumption injury and death. The trend is quite dangerous because of the great potential for accidental over consumption and inhalation.

Nelson Chow – Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Pre-workout supplements are popular among teens

Pre-workout supplements have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years among teenagers. The platform may be influencing a younger audience to try the trend, although many pre-workout supplements aren’t intended for underage users.

Chow analyzed 100 TikTok videos tagged pre-workout, and found only 8% of them featured supplements being used as intended. In the remainder of the videos, users consumed the powder directly, swallowed it with only a small sip of water, or combined it with other substances like alcohol or energy drinks.

Dry scoping powder contain high doses of caffeine which can be harmful

Pre-workout is advertised to improve athletic performance and increase energy and focus. That is sold in powder form, intended to be combined with water and consumed as a drink. It often contains high concentrations of caffeine and substances like Beta-alanine, L-Cirtulline and BCAAs.

Even more alarming is that researchers found people were taking the risky substances with energy drinks and alcohol and often at extremely high levels.

Briatney Portillo experienced a heart attack by consuming dry scoping

Briatney Portillo (TikTok influencer) known for her workout clips – suffered a heart attack after dry scooping before a gym session.

I just took pre-workout powder and ate it directly and tried to swallow it, and then followed it with chugging water. I started to feel itchy in my hands and full body shortly after, and then I started sweating a lot. I started weightlifting and my chest felt slightly heavy and hurting a bit. I ignored it because I assumed it was anxiety or a panic attack and continued with my workout.

The student said she then went home and that it was then that she started to experience nausea and developed a headache.

She took a shower but still felt nauseous with a headache couldn’t eat dinner. She still decided to go to work, but at work the symptoms of heavy chest and chest pain came back but more intense. In the locker room she was sweating profusely again and my head was hurting. The pain went to my back and my left arm. That’s when she knew it wasn’t anxiety and was maybe a heart attack.

Briatney went to hospital and was diagnosed with an NSTEMI heart attack. NSTEMIs are typically less damaging than other heart attacks.

There is no nutritional benefits to the trend

The only benefits you gain from dry scooping are the faster absorption rates however, by doing this, you lose the benefits of the taste.

You don’t gain any nutritional benefit from dry scooping other than the quicker absorption. You also need to be aware of the ingredients as not diluting some products, pre workout for example, will pump a shot of caffeine into your system much quicker than normal and may cause adverse side effects”.

Chris Appleton

The trend has blown up on TikTok: Shivraj Bassi, CEO & Founder of Innermost

The main risk with dry scooping is breathing in the powder and the powder clumping together in your throat increasing the risk of choking and suffocation. Also, some cheaper pre-workouts on the market contain high levels of caffeine. Dry scooping these can put your body through stress, increased heart rate, dehydration, and more. Mixing your pre-workout with water helps increase the bioavailability of the ingredients, which should make it more effective if you’re taking it before your workout.

Shivraj Bassi – CEO & Founder of Innermost
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