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Another quick medical post – a friend of mine mentioned he was getting nose bleeds during his workouts and suspected it was due to the pre-workout supplement he was taking (C4). I took a quick look through the body building forums and it doesn’t look like anybody knows why,with most people using anecdotal evidence like “well I’ve never had that problem, therefore it’s not the pre workout. I hope you guys know better than to take anecdotal evidence seriously – for a quick brush up on logical fallacies click here.

Anyway, since nobody knew the answer, I decided to take a look at the ingredients (which was actually surprisingly difficult to find). The product is advertised as mostly Creatine Nitrate, so I had a hard time finding the other ingredients. Interestingly though, Creatine Nitrate isn’t the most common ingredient of the product. It contains more Beta Alanine than Creatine Nitrate. That’s fine though, they’re both amino acids and there’s no big harm in amino acids.

One suspicion my friend had was the caffeine content. However, C4 has 100mg of caffeine whereas 1MR (another pre workout) contains 300mg. It’s unlikely that, with such a huge gap between products, caffeine is the problem – though it could contribute to the problem. The reason is, if caffeine was the sole cause of this issue, a product with 300% the caffeine would have a large amount of customers complaining about nose bleeds.

The nasal membrane is quite thin so even mild trauma or dryness can cause them to crack open and result in a nose bleed. In this regard, caffeine is a stimulant and thus raises your heart rate and blood flow. However, there was another ingredient in the C4 that I found: Xanthinol Nicotinate.

Xanthinol Nicotinate is a vasodilator – which means it expands blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate, it increases blood flow due to reduced vascular resistance. As mentioned above, this increased blood flow could make it much easier for you to end up with nose bleeds.

Now the purpose of having a vasodilator in your pre workout is mainly because by increasing blood flow you can pump more blood and thus nutrients to the tissues and organs that need them. I don’t want to get more technical or this’ll end up as a long post so I’ll just leave it at this: your nose bleeds are probably caused by the increased blood flow resulting from Xanthinol Nicotinate in addition to caffeine. It’s not necessarily a bad thing in the short run, though it is definitely annoying having nosebleeds when you’re trying to workout.

I’ve been noticing another wave of incorrectly used semicolons. I joined another writing forum to see if I could meet any interesting writers, concepts or tips, and to provide advice. It seems a lot of amateur writers are caught in that transition phase between simplistic writing and using linguistic features (such as punctuation, and in this case semicolons) to spruce up their narrative. Unfortunately, this transition phase tends to see a lot of errors.

So let’s lay down some quick terminology. You should all know what a semicolon is. A comma splice is when two sections of a sentence are joined together by a comma when they can be standalone sentences by themselves (known as a main clause/independent clause). By the way, if you omit the comma altogether (so it’s just two sentences stuck on the ends of one another with no punctuation in between) it’s known as a fused sentence.

I’m still learning about punctuation, today I learned how to use semicolons.

That’s an example of a comma splice. Now there’s a number of ways to fix it.

  1. Separate it into two sentences. I’m still learning about punctuation. Today I learned how to use semicolons.
  2. Use a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but or, yet, so). I’m still learning about punctuation, and today I learned how to use semicolons.
  3. Use a subordinate conjunction (because, since, once, as, if, unless, though, etc.). Because I’m still learning about punctuation, today I learned how to used semi colons.
  4. Use a semicolon. I’m still learning about punctuation; today I learned how to use semicolons.

Let’s just solidify what those examples should have taught you (if you didn’t already know) and refocus on semicolons. The two clauses separated by the semicolon have to be independent clauses. They have to be sentences by themselves. It’s very easy to remember but oddly hard to follow.

On an ending note, I’d like to point out that sometimes rules can be broken. I’m a big advocate of bending the rules for stylistic effect but I’m tired of seeing people use this as an excuse. If you break a rule to create rhetorical effect, fair enough. Just make sure there’s a distinct purpose for you breaking the rule, and that even an idiot can tell you did it on purpose. And don’t overdo it. It’s only special if it’s rare.

While I’m on the topic, here’s another excuse that really ticks me off. Using cummings as an excuse to ignore rules of English. For those that don’t know, cummings was a poet famous for (among other things) ignoring capitalisation in his poems. That’s why people often don’t capitalise his name; it’s sort of like a weird little tribute to him. However, let’s get this straight. First, he wrote poetry, which already bends a lot of rules. Second, he became famous. It’s very difficult to criticise the successful. Third, you are not cummings. There are literally tens of thousands of other writers competing with you (in any sense of the word) and not many people have even heard of your name. You will not be excused for breaking rules. At least not until you become famous first.

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