Depending on who you ask, pre-workout supplements are either:
- a) Useful nutritional supplements that help you maximize your athletic performance
- b) Dangerous chemical concoctions linked to serious and harmful side effects
So what’s the real story behind preworkout supplements? Just like with most other nutritional supplements, there are good preworkout supplements and bad ones.
For years, the makers of two preworkout supplements have been involved in countless lawsuits regarding the health effects of their products. The two products in question are Jack3d and OxyElite.
Both products have been taken off the market – although lawsuits are still ongoing.
Other preworkout supplements – even the ones made by reputable supplement manufacturers – may also put users at risk.
Why Preworkout Supplements Can Be Dangerous
Preworkout supplements are primarily targeted towards men who want to squeeze every last drop of power from their muscles during a workout. The supplements promise to enhance endurance and power while reducing muscle fatigue.
You might feel a short-term boost of energy after using a preworkout supplement. But the unwanted side-effects can be devastating:
Preworkout supplements typically achieve these effects using high levels of caffeine and creatine. These are the two most popular ingredients in preworkout supplements.
Caffeine and creatine both have something in common: they’re both diuretics, which means they draw water from the body and force you to urinate more frequently.
Creatine has the added effect of encouraging muscle cells to absorb more water, which means there’s even less water in the rest of your body. This can lead to dehydration.
Creatine is typically considered a safe nutritional supplement when taken with lots of water. It’s popular among amateur and professional athletes.
However, it’s not recommended to be used over long periods of time. Using creatine for long periods of time can cause kidney problems.
Creatine is a natural compound produced and stored in your muscles. Just like with steroids, taking too much supplemental creatine can cause your body’s production of creatine to drop off.
At the same time, your body could start producing more creatinine – a chemical compound safe in small doses but dangerous in large doses. If left untreated over time, creatinine can aggravate existing kidney problems and cause renal failure.
High Blood Pressure
Preworkout supplements are stimulants. Caffeine and creatine are stimulants. Many of the other compounds found in preworkout supplements are also stimulants.
All stimulants raise your blood pressure. Working out also raises your blood pressure – especially when you’re performing high-intensity, short-duration exercises like weightlifting.
Ultimately, all of these effects can combine to cause your blood pressure to spike while also leading to long-term heart problems.
Dangerous Effects Caused by Unproven Other Ingredients
One of the biggest problems with preworkout supplements is that they’re almost totally unregulated in the United States. While other countries have strict regulations involving which kinds of supplements are sold to citizens, the United States does not.
The U.S. has the Food and Drug Administration. Preworkout supplements (and most other athletic supplements) are neither foods nor drugs, so the FDA leaves the industry to (mostly) its own devices.
This has encouraged the growth of thousands of unscrupulous preworkout supplement manufacturers. For every reputable supplement manufacturer selling a science-backed preworkout supplement, there are 10 low-quality manufacturers selling overpriced caffeine pills.
Making matters worse is that these low-quality manufacturers don’t just sell caffeine pills: they often pack these caffeine pills with filler ingredients and weird herbal extracts.
Ultimately, this lack of regulation has led to the following unwanted side effects:
-Nausea and dizziness
-Upset stomach, indigestion, and diarrhea
Some people have linked these problems to specific ingredients. Yohimbe, for example, is often added to preworkout supplements to act as a thermogenic. In reality, it can lead to excessive sweating and an elevated heart rate. Synephrine, Geranium, aspartame, DMAA, and artificial dyes are other ingredients similarly linked to bad side effects.
Jack3d and OxyElite Lawsuits
Jack3d was a popular preworkout supplement once sold by a Dallas-based company named USPlabs. That company also sold OxyElite Pro.
Jack3d used an ingredient called DMAA, which has been linked to health problems across the United States. Recently, two U.S. Army soldiers who died of heart attacks during physical training were found to have DMAA in their system.
DMAA, coincidentally, is the same compound used in many party pills.
In September 2014, Law360.com reported that USPlabs LLC had agreed to pay $2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit involving Jack3d and OxyElite.
In the months leading up to that settlement, dozens of cases across the United States had been centralized in federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
Ultimately, the compounds in Jack3d and OxyElite were considered so dangerous that the FDA forced USPlabs to destroy about $8 million worth of the supplements stored at a Dallas-area facility.
What To Do If You’ve Been Harmed By Preworkout Supplements
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Contact Oklahoma’s Johnson & Biscone today to receive a free case assessment.