A fitness influencer who forced down eight scoops of caffeine laced supplement immediately before a workout ended up in hospital after the chemical cocktail caused a serious brain injury.
Bernard Hsu, a US-based medical oncologist who makes instructional videos about health and medicine, told the story of what happened to the TikTok celebrity, named in the video only as JA.
Keen to get more subscribers for his channel, “JA” decided he’d dry-swallow two scoops of a pre-workout powered that’s intended to be mixed with water.
It made him feel ill, but the resultant video earned him so many likes he decided he’d repeat the procedure with twice as much powder.
When the four scoops of powder made him choke, JA tried to wash them down with another four scoops in water to ease the discomfort.
His mother, Karen, found him passed out on his bedroom floor and rushed him to hospital.
Although unconscious, JA’s heart was racing and doctors noticed that one of his pupils was much bigger than the other – a warning sign of a brain injury.
Bernard explained: "The combination of huge amounts of caffeine and beta phenylethylamine in eight scoops of pre-workout swallowed all at once, with heavy lifting, all together could have increased JA's blood pressure so high that it caused his brain to start to stroke in the form of a bleed.”
He says that the powder was not designed to be absorbed without water. “By doing this,” Bernard says, “you’re creating a choking hazard for yourself because of …’funny laughs’ at the expense of your own health.
“You likely can damage your lungs if you cough and breathe in enough powder,” he adds.
It was only later that Karen saw the video on her son's phone and the full story emerged. JA had gone to the gym after chugging the eight scoops of powder, set up his camera and and started lifting weights despite feeling “jittery” and unwell.
He suffered an “instant headache” that was almost certainly a stroke.
Doctors had only been able to relieve the pressure on JA’s swollen brain by removing part of his skull. Fortunately, after several months of rehabilitation, JA made a full recovery.
If he had been older, or less fit, he could well have died.
Bernard warns that nobody should try a similar stunt, saying that dry-scooping is “nonsense intended to sensationalise an unnecessary class of supplement”.
"Don't push it with this kind of stuff,” he says, warning that the next “influencer” that tries it may not be so lucky.
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