The Most Dangerous Pre-Workout Ingredients

Aug 13, 2021

Pre-workouts can be one of the most effective supplements available on the market. Whether you need that extra burst of energy after work or a pick-me-up in the morning—pre-workouts can provide you with much needed stimulation and energy. Although many can be a helpful tool to your workouts—some supplements can have harmful and even devastating side effects.

Although pre-workouts may help you power through your daily workouts, people should take precaution before making blind purchases. Many supplements contain harmful fillers, proprietary ingredients, and improperly proportioned ingredients. As a result, taking the wrong pre-workout can be more harmful than beneficial when it comes to overall health.

Let’s take a look at some of the dangerous pre-workouts that exist today and what ingredients you should look out for.

Should You Take Pre-Workouts?

Many people need an extra burst of energy to help them complete their workouts. Whether it's a 5:00am workout before heading to work or a late night session before bed—many choose to take pre-workout as a means of increasing overall energy and stamina. However, simply purchasing pre-workouts without thoroughly inspecting ingredients can lead to devastating results.

Not all pre-workout ingredients have negative side effects. Some of the most common helpful ingredients include:

  • Creatine: helps to increase muscle mass, strength, performance, and overall recovery post-workout.
  • Beta Alanine: improves performance, strength, and body composition.
  • Caffeine: decreases fatigue, improves memory, and enhances overall mental functioning.

Each of these specific ingredients are included in high quality pre-workouts as a means of improving performance, endurance, and overall recovery. The problem arises when companies include fillers and other harmful ingredients within their proprietary blends. Having a better understanding of what’s inside your preworkout can help limit consumption of harmful products.

Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients you should avoid when purchasing pre-workout products.


Several years ago many pre-workout products contained an ingredient called DMAA. Better known as 1,3 dimethylamylamine—it often gets represented as a “natural” stimulant. However, the chemical properties of the ingredient are closely equated to amphetamine products. Although the FDA took steps to ban the ingredient several years ago, some companies are finding alternative ways of including it in some stimulant based pre-workout products.

The negative side effects of DMAA consumption can sometimes include:

  • Elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Studies have suggested that acute ingestion of DMAA may result in increases in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and rate pressure product (1). In a controlled environment ten healthy men and women experienced increased blood pressure rates of up to 20% or more. Be sure to take a close look at all ingredients to ensure you’re not being misled by product labeling or false advertising.


Yohime is a product originally designed to help stimulate sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction. It works by actively dilating blood vessels thereby lowering blood pressure. The problem is artificially lowering blood pressure during workouts can lead to a number of side effects including:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Skin flushing

The FDA regulates yohimbine distribution, but many supplement companies still choose to add it to their pre-workouts. If you see a product that contains yohimbe take extra precaution to ensure it doesn’t cause negative side effects.

Artificial Coloring

Artificial coloring is not always harmful if made with natural ingredients. The problem arises when supplement companies utilize artificial additives containing toxic ingredients. A number of artificial colorings such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have been shown to potentially increase cancer risk and other problems in children (2).

With thousands of artificial colorings existing in the United States, it's important to make sure that your pre-workouts are made with natural additives and coloring.

Excessive Caffeine

Caffeine can be a beneficial ingredient in moderate amounts. However, some companies choose to overdo recommended FDA guidelines and include 500mg or more in a single serving. As a result, excessive caffeine intake can result in side effects such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Nervous system damage
  • Stomach irritation

Choose pre-workouts that contain modest amounts of caffeine roughly in the 200mg per serving range. Any product that contains double this caffeine content or more should be strictly avoided at all costs. Also, if you’re consuming other caffeinated beverages such as coffee, energy drinks, or other stimulants—try to keep overall daily consumption within recommended ranges. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Up to 400mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults” (3).

Proprietary Blends

Some pre-workouts and other products contain random concoctions of ingredients known as proprietary blends. In essence, companies will create a mix of several different chemicals and label them as “proprietary blends.” These types of products will not specify individual ingredients instead bypassing labeling requirements. 

Try to choose supplements that actively list each ingredient by name and amount. If they simply batch up everything together, it's best to avoid taking that product. You should never consume supplements unless you’re fully aware of what's going into your body.

How to Choose the Right Pre-Workout

Choose pre-workout products that are precisely dosed in appropriate quantities. Consuming the right pre-workouts will help to improve overall intensity and performance results. Ambrosia Kinetic is the latest pre-workout designed to provide you with everything you need to maximize performance.

Delivering sustained energy, hyperfocus, and power—Kinetic™ is made with a breakthrough formula of ingredients to unlock your best athletic performances and results. Made with an organic mushroom blend, Creapure™ creatine, and natural caffeine from Coffee Berry—Kinetic is the perfect product for creating explosive strength and recovery, improving brain activity, and supporting overall brain function. 

If you’d like to learn more about Kinetic, be sure to reach out for any questions or comments. We’re here to help provide you with clinically dosed products that allow you to achieve maximum performance and results.  



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