YouTuber Bernard Hsu, who shares videos based on real-life patient stories, posted an explainer about what happened to a 25-year-old TikToker who 'presented to an emergency room unconscious' after downing so much pre-workout.
Hsu said the young man - dubbed 'JA' in his video - was a fitness TikToker who recently found out about dry-scooping pre-workout supplement, a 'hot new trend where people would dump powder directly into their mouth in an effort to bypass the water and allow the body to digest it as soon as possible, so that the pre-workout would hit harder'.
"Clearly, this was nonsense intended to sensationalise an unnecessary class of supplement, but JA was determined," Hsu said.
"He was going to dry-scoop pre-workout for a video to post, and get 100,000 followers."
According to Hsu, JA initially tried dry-scooping two scoops and 'felt like he was choking', but was pleased with how many likes and new followers he gained after posting the video.
The TikToker then went for four scoops, but the stunt was met with 'instant regret'.
Hsu continued: "He thought it would be funny for the video to just chase it down with four more scoops already mixed in with water, as he washed everything down and got ready for his workout."
JA went to the gym, where he began to feel unwell, with Hsu explaining the pre-workout he'd downed was loaded with caffeine, creatine and a 'focus energy blend' made of 'a variety of things'.
He started sweating before even lifting weights and felt 'jittery', while his heart started beating fast and his eyes began to bulge - before an 'instant headache'.
When his mum took him to the emergency room, doctors had no idea he'd dry-scooped so much pre-workout - until she whipped a phone out and saw his TikTok video.
Medics found he had high blood pressure and that his heart was beating 'erratically', and that one of his pupils was bigger than the other - eyes being controlled by the brain, not the heart.
A scan suggested parts of JA's brain had been bleeding, expanding it inside his skull.
Hsu continued: "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."
Thankfully, doctors were able to prevent JA's brain from pushing up against his skull and oozing out of the cracks, with surgeons removing parts of his skull to relieve the pressure.
After surgery, JA's condition finally 'appeared to improve', likely thanks to the fact that he was relatively young and healthy - and that the stroke may have been caught just in time.
After several months of rehabilitation, he was able to make a recovery.
Hsu advised that the kind of pre-workout supplement used by JA should not be dry-scooped.
"If you're really training seriously, you shouldn't need anything extra to help you focus on training, because this is a non-essential supplement," he added.
"Don't push it with this kind of stuff."
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