There’s a new fitness trend taking over TikTok, but it’s far from harmless. In fact, it has already sent one young woman to the hospital and caused another to stop breathing. The trend is called “dry-scooping,” and it involves consuming a scoop of pre-workout powder without diluting it with water in order to enhance its effects. While it may sound appealing to maximize the benefits of amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, and creatine in the supplement, experts are strongly warning against trying this challenge.
The Alarming Nature of Dry Scooping
Dry-scooping is not a recent phenomenon. It has been circulating on Reddit for quite some time, but it has gained traction on TikTok recently. The videos showcasing this trend encourage people to consume pre-workout energy powder without water. However, this seemingly harmless practice can have dire consequences. Just ask 20-year-old Briatney Portillo, who was rushed to the hospital with heart attack symptoms after dry-scooping.
In a video shared from her hospital bed, she revealed, “Taking a dry pre-workout scoop [because] I saw it trending on TikTok. Ending up in the hospital because I had a heart attack.” Portillo initially experienced tingling and itchiness all over her body, but she ignored these warning signs. She mistook the heavy feeling in her chest and slight pain for anxiety or a panic attack. Even after her workout session, when she started feeling nauseous and lightheaded, she brushed it off and went to work as an exotic dancer. It was only when the chest pain intensified, spreading to her back and left arm, that she realized she was having a heart attack. The ambulance was called, and she was diagnosed with non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).
Understanding the Risks
Dry scooping puts an immense strain on the heart, primarily due to the high levels of caffeine present in most pre-workout supplements. While these powders aren’t regulated by the FDA, they often contain caffeine in varying, but substantial amounts. According to Dr. Joy Gelbman, a cardiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, the surge of caffeine can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which leads to the release of a cardiac enzyme named troponin. This release can cause the non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) that Portillo experienced.
Moreover, dry-scooping also poses other risks, with choking being a major concern. Consuming a large amount of powdered substance without water increases the risk of choking, and in some cases, even more severe consequences. There have been instances where individuals stopped breathing as they attempted to swallow the dry scoop. Dr. Gelbman suggests that this can occur due to a laryngeal spasm or by inhaling the powder into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
The Importance of Seeking Professional Advice
For anyone considering trying out fitness advice they find on TikTok, especially when it involves supplements, it is crucial to seek guidance from healthcare professionals. Dry-scooping pre-workout powder should be strictly avoided, and it is advisable to consult with a physician before trying any off-label practices. “Just because you see it online, even if it’s ‘fitness influencers’ doing it, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Being young doesn’t mean we’re invincible,” warns Portillo.
Let’s remember that our health and well-being should always take precedence over viral trends. It’s important to exercise caution, inform ourselves, and make responsible choices when it comes to our bodies.