20-Year-Old Woman Says Viral TikTok Dry Scooping Challenge Gave Her A Heart Attack

The viral "wellness" trend can be dangerous.

Pre-Workout Powder Pixel Shot / Shutterstock

A 20-year-old woman says her attempt at the viral “dry scooping” challenge on TikTok caused her to have a heart attack.

In the video, TikToker, dancer and OnlyFans model Briatney Portillo dons a clown face filter as she informs others about the dangers of the popular trend that sent her to the hospital overnight.

The clip has garnered over 2.3 million views and 336,000 likes, leading Portillo to change her TikTok bio to read, "CEO of having a NSTEMI from preworkout/low caffeine tolerance."


What is dry scooping?

Dry scooping involves swallowing a scoop of pre-workout powder straight from the measuring spoon without mixing it into any liquid as you are meant to.

Pre-workout powder is typically composed of amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, creatine and artificial sweeteners, and is generally used as a performance enhancer by gym-goers or athletes to give them a boost of energy before their workouts.

But the powder is intended to be mixed with water and consumed gradually. Dry scooping has been said to intensify the effects of the powder, as the practice causes the body to absorb the ingredients more quickly.


That is, if you can keep it in your mouth without choking or spitting it out — hence the challenge.

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What happened when TikToker Briatney Portillo tried dry scooping before her workout?

Portillo decided to try the trend after seeing videos of the others doing the same making their way around the video-sharing app as part of a new challenge.


The story of what happened when she gave dry scooping a try exposes the high degree of risk involved in consuming workout supplements as the challenge advises.

Portillo explained that she was posting her video as a warning that others should proceed with caution before trying the dangerous trend.

“Putting this out there so y’all don’t do what I did because I’m the type of person to try anything and everything I see here without questioning it,” Portillo captioned one of her videos.

She told BuzzFeed that she felt shakes all over her body after consuming the powder, but saw online that this was a normal side effect and began her workout.


Soon after, she began experiencing chest pain — and at first, she ignored that sign, too.

“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.

The pain became increasingly intense as the day continued.

"The pain went to my back and to my left arm and my left arm went slightly limp," she said, "so I knew those were symptoms of a heart attack. I called 911 and the ambulance came."

Portillo said doctors were reluctant to say she was having a heart attack because of her age, but tests revealed her troponin levels were high, which meant that she either had a heart attack or that her heart was very stressed.


The following day doctors declared that Portillo had suffered an NSTEMI (non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), which is a minor heart attack.

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How can dry scooping cause a heart attack?

The typically high levels of caffeine in pre-workout powders, which are not regulated by the FDA, may pose the risk of triggering a cardiac event, especially for someone who doesn't already consume high amounts of caffeine on a regular basis.

As nutritionist Ayat Sleymann, RD, explained to Popsugar, "A sudden dose of excessive caffeine can trigger fast and irregular heartbeats, which could lead to sudden cardiac arrest and even death."


Portillo says this was her first time trying a pre-workout powder.

In other words, just say no to dry scooping.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.