Austin Reed was in his dream job as a paramedic firefighter when he started experiencing breathing difficulties on the job. His doctor told him it was probably allergies and sent him home with some medication but the shortness of breath continued. When he could barely walk 10 feet without sitting down, he went back to the doctor for additional tests. Cardiologists were called in to evaluate him and started asking him questions about meth use. Reed was the picture of health and assured him he had never taken such drugs. It was only after his sister reminded him about a pre-workout supplement he had been using that the cause of his cardiac failure came into focus. His UC Davis cardiologist took a look at the ingredients and said, "Yep...this is the cause". The supplement contained ephedrine and Reed's heart was working at a fraction of normal capacity.
Medication staved off the need for surgery for a couple of years but when his heart function dropped again, Reed found himself at Stanford university undergoing a heart transplant. Below is our conversation with Reed and with health and with a health and wellness expert on the dangers of supplements. She says the words to look out for are, "fat-burning". Often, these supplements impact our body chemistry in ways we don't understand until its too late.