Plenty of dangerous TikTok challenges have gone viral over recent months, but the latest trend almost became deadly after a 20-year-old influencer said it triggered a heart attack.
The craze is called “dry scooping” and involves swallowing pre-workout powder, which has an energizing effect, instead of diluting it with water.
The supplement is typically made of amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, creatine and artificial sweeteners. Ingesting it dry is supposed to intensify the effect and hype you up.
What is the dry scooping TikTok trend?
One woman who tried dry scooping coughed the powder all over her boyfriend, who had seamlessly swallowed it moments before her. The video went viral on TikTok.
There are a number of videos with similar reactions — discomfort reminiscent of the “cinnamon challenge,” an early 2010s internet trend where people tried to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon.
It wasn’t just a quirky video for TikTok user and OnlyFans creator Briatney Portillo, though. She said in a now-viral post that she “had a heart attack” after giving the trend a shot.
“Dry scooping is so dangerous. Please blend with water and wait 20 minutes before working out,” one user commented.
“This is why we don’t listen to influencers,” another said.
She told BuzzFeed News that after dry scooping her pre-workout powder, she started feeling itchy and tingly. A quick Google search revealed that it’s not an unusual reaction, so she went on with her workout.
“I started to feel a heavy feeling in my chest and slight pain, but it wasn’t too bad. I thought it was maybe anxiety or a bad panic attack, so I decided to just ignore it and push through my workout,” she said.
It wasn’t just anxiety, though. She said she started to feel nauseous and light-headed, so she went home to take a shower, then headed to work. At work, things started to get worse again.
“I started sweating a lot and was drenched, even though I was wearing a bikini. Then my chest pain came back, and this time, it was more intense,” she claimed. “The pain went to my back and to my left arm, and my left arm went slightly limp, so I knew those were symptoms of a heart attack. I called 9-1-1, and the ambulance came.”
At the hospital, Portillo went through a series of tests, which ultimately determined that she had an NSTEMI, which is a type of heart attack that’s less damaging to the heart.
“They said to stay away from caffeine and watch what I take — especially pre-workout, since it isn’t regulated by the FDA,” she explained. “They said I was okay to workout within three to four days after my hospitalization, and to start watching my heart rate on either a Fitbit or a smartwatch.”
Portillo is now recovering and said she wanted to get her story out to raise awareness.
“Being 20, I would’ve never assumed I’d get a heart attack from pre-workout,” she said. “I just want people to be careful with what they’re consuming. 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.”
Is pre-workout powder dangerous?
According to Healthline, some experts say that pre-workout is dangerous and wholly unnecessary. Anything containing that much caffeine can be dangerous to people with heart conditions, whether they realize they have them or not.
Additionally, pre-workout powder and other supplements are not closely regulated, so you may inadvertently consume substances or quantities of substances that are dangerous.
If you’re concerned about the effect pre-workout powder may have on you, consult a doctor — and always follow the instructions to avoid unintended side effects.
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