The number of bodybuilders that have died in the last few years seems well above what one would expect statistically speaking. In a similar time frame, one investigation found over 700 young mostly male athletes from various sports have supposedly collapsed during competitions due to heart related issues, some experiencing cardiac arrest and dying. Most of these athletes were only in their 20s, some younger then that! Is there a possibility the deaths of these bodybuilders and other athletes are connected? It needs to be said this report was not published in a peer reviewed sci/med journal, but an open source publication, but seems in line with other reports.
This is going to be one of my more controversial articles as I’m going to really push the speculation and conjecture here, which is not my usual approach. Normally I’d wait until I was on more solid grounding – in terms of supportive data – to discuss such a serious topic, much less make recommendations from it. In this case, I feel it’s worth taking the chance, and if I’m wrong, it will harm no one. If I’m right, it will potentially save lives.
Personal Positions On Vaccines.
Let’s also be very clear on something: I have no interest or intent on discussing nor debating the vaccines. I’m vaccinated myself. Would I change anything in light of the information discussed here? No, there would be no changes for me. That depends strictly on who you are. Older person with comorbidities for serious complications, hospitalization, and death from covid, risk/benefit absolutely favors being vaccinated. The vaccines saved lives, period. A healthy male teen athlete or a young child? Not so much. That’s the issue that’s been raised by various pro vaccine docs (vid posted here via Dr Prasad below!) that the one size fits all approach to the vaccines is BAD science. They were not properly stratified as to risk benefit in different age groups and or, how to mitigate what risks did exist (nothing, zero, nadda, is 100% safe) to maximize benefits and minimize risks. Now we have compelling evidence for that reality, and it’s costing lives and top docs in their field – their lane – are pushing back and being attacked as “anti vax” and nothing could be further from the truth there. For me, it made sense to be vaccinated as the risk/benefits clearly favored it in my case and does for many people.
Risk/benefit wise, it’s not risk of vaccines vs no vaccines, it’s risks of vaccine vs exposure to covid minus being vaccinated. Everyone on this planet has been, or will be, exposed to covid.
Whether what I’m going to discuss is primarily due to exposure to covid, the vaccines, or some combination there of, is moot in the context of my advice on the issue moving forward. To me, it’s a moot issue and my concern is addressing the athletes at risk. So what do all these athletes have in common? My STRONG suspicion, what we are seeing is being caused by sub-clinical myocarditis, due to covid exposure and or vaccines. That’s a rare effect from the vaccines in the general population, BUT, It’s been established now that a sub set of young men – reason unclear at this time – are at higher risk of myocarditis from vaccines, and feeling otherwise fine (hence sub clinical….) suffer heart issues once they exert themselves. This may at least partially explain the death of some bodybuilders also, or may have put some of them with pre-existing cardiac pathology under yet more stress, and the sub-clinical myocarditis was the last straw for their heart. Let’s be honest here, bodybuilders have been dying at younger than expected ages for a long time, but just as with other athletes, the rates seem to have spiked in the last few years. The answer is far from clear at this time, however. It should be noted that many of the bodybuilders that died in the past few years while not old, they were not all young men in their 20s, either, but they may be at higher risks of sub-clinical myocarditis due to higher rates of pre-existing heart conditions aging male bodybuilders may suffer, due high dose AA use and other PED’s, as well as other factors. Is it possible male bodybuilders of any age are another unique sub-set population at higher risk of sub-clinical myocarditis from exposure to covid and or vaccines? I don’t know the answer to that Q, but my instincts say yes…
In my view, all younger male athletes, (below 30 years of age and up to 39 years of age) should be given an EKG, and tested for cardiac troponin, creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) and other diagnostic tests for myocarditis as recommended by a medical professional. I suspect that may be involved in the surprisingly high number of bodybuilders who have died in the last few years also, but that’s conjecture on my end. Yes, it may be inconvenient and a bit of a PITA, but it could save your life or someone you care about and is at worst a waste of time.
For those interested in the topic of Myocarditis after vaccines, and who may be at risk, and a ton of useful info, a recent discussion via Vinay Prasad. Dr. Prasad is not some rando doc without the legit background to comment with some agenda as many are, he’s proven to be a solid, objective, science based doc with the creds to speak on the topic. Read his article HERE, and or watch his vid below, and follow up vid below my conclusions for even better details on a paper just published “Risk of Myocarditis After Sequential Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine and SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Age and Sex.” A paper just out, also questions the value of the boosters in young adults, and lists the elevated risks of Myocarditis in young men as a risk/benefit that does not favor the recommendation for boosters in that group as a general policy. Finally a paper by Dr Prasad just published “COVID-19 vaccine induced myocarditis in young males: A systematic review” examines the evidence discussed in this article. His video on the paper is excellent too.
“But Why Young Men Will?!”
And why possibly male bodybuilders of any age if my hypothesis is correct? It likely comes down to the predominantly male hormone testosterone. Young healthy active men tend to have the highest levels of testosterone, and male bodybuilders of any age may have higher than typical testosterone levels for their age, possibly due to the healthier life style, nutrition, and resistance training, as well as the possible use exogenous testosterone, and or, AA’s. It must be made clear here that testosterone, in normal healthy physiological levels is generally cardio- protective (good for the heart!), and low testosterone associated – in men and women BTW – with a long list diseases and ailments best avoided, so “low T” is not a benefit. However, specific to Myocarditis, testosterone is associated with poorer outcomes from viral induced Myocarditis, and an excellent review paper – Testosterone, cardiomyopathies, and heart failure: a narrative review – offers some possible mechanisms as to why and how that may be.
Also Just out, a report potentially supporting my hypothesis via the FL Surgeon General. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD. From the report:
“The Florida Department of Health (Department) conducted an analysis through a self-controlled case series, which is a technique originally developed to evaluate vaccine safety. This studied mortality risk
following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. This analysis found there is an 84% increase in the relativ incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination. Individuals with preexisting cardiac conditions, such as myocarditis and pericarditis…” Full report HERE.
It must be noted the FL report is not a peer reviewed study published in a sci/med journal, but that it’s also in line with other prior data, means it should not be ignored either.
This one is a bit of a flex for me, I admit, but my instincts have historically been very good, my model and recs for what causes the serious complications, hospitalizations, and deaths from covid, continues to be overlooked – if not actively ignored – has been supported by more and more data in the three years since I wrote it. Also, data starting to get published supporting my basic hypothesis, Oxidative stress via GSH depletion a key aspect of covid related pathogenesis and likley vaccine induced myocarditis, acute Pericarditis- Myopericarditis in young men. So, I’m trusting my instincts here more than I normally might, but I feel in this case it’s worth the risks I’m simply wrong. Stay safe out there!
8/30/22, his follow up (must watch!) vid, men below 40 who have had 2 doses of Moderna should consider being tested for sub-clinical myocarditis:
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 30 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often ground breaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He’s also been published in peer reviewed journals.
Will is the author of the popular e-books, both accompanied by private members forum access , Bodybuilding Revealed & Fat Loss Revealed.
You can also buy Will’s other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.
you adress every thing so well mr will, thank you.
Well said, Mr. Brink. This brings some light to the issue.
Long time reader, first time commenter. Always trusted your scientific approach to supplements and training. Wondering your opinion on also getting a C Score (aka Calcium Score) for your heart. John Romano and Rich Gaspari talked about this topic on several of their recent Dragon Slayer Media podcasts on YouTube. Not sure if your PCP would authorize this test, but a cardiologist surely would. Supposedly the test costs around $100, but that sounds too low to me unless that’s what you pay after health insurance covers the bulk of the cost. Thanks for reading this.
There have been studies looking at the actual incidence of sudden death in young athletes, including reviews by the IOC and NCAA, and they have not found an increase. I don’t know of a specific study looking at bodybuilders. This is not a medical article, but does cover this- https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/jun/23/instagram-posts/claims-connecting-sudden-death-athletes-covid-19-v/.
This review showed the Moderna vaccine might cause slightly more myocarditis than the Pfizer vaccine, but the overall numbers are very low. https://www.acc.org/About-ACC/Press-Releases/2022/11/07/18/58/Which-COVID-Vaccine-You-Get-Can-Impact-Myocarditis-Risk. Virtually all the cases of myocarditis after the COVID vaccine resolve without any known complications.
It does seem suspicious that people like Ladapo who have been anti-vaccine from early on seem to find these cases, especially in the very poorly done Florida study, of which there have been numerous rebuttals, such as this- https://www.factcheck.org/2022/10/scicheck-floridas-covid-19-vaccination-analysis-is-flawed-experts-say/
Politicfact is not a primary source and highly biased. Recent review of the data from vaccine studies suggesting higher rates of complications than first reported, and yet another study find the booster problematic in that population: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.12.16.22283603v1