T Nation

The Tiny World of Supplements


I work as an electron microscope service engineer, and I've been curious about what some of the stuff I put in my body looks like under higher magnification, so I took some supplements in to work to shoot some pics. I used an environmental SEM that let me image the supplements in a slight hydrous environment so the high voltage of the SEM would not cause massive charging of the powders. You can see that some powders still charged like the creatine and Power Drive, but overall the pics are decent.

I did the following:
Morton's table salt - For size comparison, because we all can intuit what size table salt is

Creatine Monohydrate - Non-Biotest brand, I'm curious to know if there really is a size difference with "micronized" creatine. The creatine obvisouly grows in a sort of stratified plateau.

Power Drive - I wondered why it got all cakey. This did not look like what I thought it would AT ALL! Came out looking pretty sweet.

Benefiber - I put it in my shakes, and to be honest, I thought it would be much more fibrous than it was. It is still more angular than the creatine, but not terribly interesting.

Whey/Casein - This is a non-Biotest brand, and looked really globular, which I'm assuming means that at some point the liquid form is sort of aerosolized which lets the surface tension draw the protein into small balls.

Se7en - I cracked open a capsule, and imaged it still in its hydrated state. Compared to HOT-ROX Extreme, it was much more crystalline

HOT-ROX Extreme - Again imaged in the hydrated state. There wasn't actually much to see here, but it was sort of interesting to compare it to the Se7en

[Edit: uploading is being a butt, so links are below]

Size comparison

higher mag Power Drive

higher mag creatine

HOT-ROX Extreme in its liquid form


These are all at the same magnification for size comparision


higher mag of Power Drive


hmm pics not showing up, Imma keep trying


Higher mag of Creatine


Why don't you upload on a picture sharing site and then just link it in your first post?


yeah, I'm heading to photobucket right now...


How does that avoid charging? (Answer as technical as you want to make it?)


That's pretty cool!


The SEM makes an image by scanning an electron beam over the surface of a sample and collecting the signal generated. This all happens in a vacuum. That electron beam needs to travel to ground, but with electrically insulating samples (like these powders) the charge cannot make it to ground, so a huge static charge builds and then the electron beam can get pushed around all wonky. With an environmental SEM, a small water vapor atmosphere is bled in, to ground out the surface of the powders.


Individual pics posted in the side by side




This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.




Power Drive






What can these scans tell us exactly when its in our bodies?


That our insides look like the game asteroids. the key is to move only when necessary.


Dang it I knew it had to do with something like that but didn't want to believe it :frowning: