A 20-Year-Old On TikTok Had A Heart Attack From Doing The "Dry Scooping Pre-Workout" Trend

    20-year-old Briatney Portillo had a heart attack from the "dry scooping" trend.

    *Sigh.* Another day, another questionable trend infiltrating the phone screens of millions of youths.

    The latest craze is something called "dry scooping," which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Some fitness bro decided it was badass to swallow pre-workout powder dry (instead of diluting it with water as intended) before hitting the gym, and it weirdly caught on.

    Pre-workout powder is typically comprised of amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners. If you ingest it dry instead of diluting it, it's supposed to intensify the "energizing" effects — and it's obviously a much faster process than drinking 8 ounces of liquid. Some of the first viral videos I saw of this trend were reminiscent of the 2013 cinnamon challenge. This woman blew half the powder in her boyfriend's face:


    Never assume that they have dry scooped before just because they workout. #MillionActsofLove #workout #preworky #fyp


    And this woman stopped breathing and immediately needed her inhaler. Warning: some people may find this video disturbing:

    But the video that stopped me in my tracks was by a 20-year-old named Briatney Portillo, who said she had a heart attack after dry scooping:

    BuzzFeed reached out to Briatney for more details about what happened. "After I took the pre-workout, I started to feel tingly and itchy all over my body, which wasn’t a good feeling, but I googled it and it said that was a normal side effect. ... So I began to do my workout," she told BuzzFeed. "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."

    Briatney's chest pain eventually eased, but then she felt extremely nauseous and light-headed, so she decided to head home. After she took a shower, she started to feel better and headed to her job as an exotic dancer. "In the locker room of my job, I started getting hot, even though it was cold in there. ... 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 said. "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 911 and the ambulance came."

    When Briatney was at the hospital, her nurses were reluctant to say she was having a heart attack due to her young age. But when they started running tests on her, they saw that her troponin levels were high, which meant that she either had a heart attack or her heart was very stressed. They kept her overnight, and after running more tests on her the next day, it was determined that she had had an NSTEMI — 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. They said I was OK to work out within 3–4 days after my hospitalization and to start watching my heart rate on either a Fitbit or a smart watch," she said.

    For more information on NSTEMIs and the risks associated with dry scooping, BuzzFeed reached out to Dr. Nicole Harkin, a cardiologist based in San Fransisco. "An NSTEMI is a type of heart attack in which the artery of the heart is not completely blocked off. This is different from a STEMI in which the artery is completely blocked, requiring it to be opened with a procedure immediately," Dr. Harkin told BuzzFeed.

    In regard to pre-workout, Dr. Harkin was skeptical about some of the ingredients. "Aside from protein, pre-workout also typically contains a massive amount of caffeine (in some cases up to 500 mg!), as well as artificial dyes, sweeteners, and emulsifiers," she said. "Taking such a large amount at once could certainly be detrimental to the body, by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure acutely..."

    She also would not recommend dry scooping. "Using a product differently than intended by the manufacturer, such as dry scooping, is rarely a good idea. It's meant to be diluted, and when you don't do this, it can have potential serious consequences in the body," she said.

    If you're still curious about pre-workout and want to know whether you should avoid it, you should speak with a doctor, she said. "Those who may be at higher risk for issues with these substances, like people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias, should absolutely check in with their doctor before using them. That said, everyone should make sure their doctor is aware of all substances they are consuming, including regular over-the-counter medications or supplements."

    Briatney is thankfully better now, but she still felt it was important to get her story out. "I decided to share my story to raise awareness — being 20, I would’ve never assumed I’d get a heart attack from pre-workout. 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."

    Remember: talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications and supplements. Even if you don't need a prescription for something, it could still have risks.