I’ve been receiving visitors who are searching for the term “1/8th tsp milligrams” among other things. This post is for them.
The fact that this search string has been coming up is a little worrying, and for that reason I will explain why you can’t just expect the same number of milligrams from a measuring scoop that you would with caffeine to theanine for example.
There is simply no cut-and-dry way to determine just how many milligrams are in a 1/8th teaspoon scoop or any other scoop without a scale of some sort. Scoops measure volume and scales measure mass. You can take someone else’s word for it on the Internet, make a reckless guess, or you can just measure it for yourself.
So, how many milligrams in a 1/8th scoop?
Answer: It depends.
Recall this old schoolyard trick question: “what weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of butter?”
The first thing that comes to mind for most people may be butter, since it has a greater density than feathers. A pile of exactly 1 lb of feathers would look a lot bigger than 1 lb of butter, but if we are talking about weight (better known as mass) they would be exactly the same. 1 pound is equal to 1 pound, and the question is meant to take advantage of our intuitive knowledge of butter and feathers.
When dealing with actual volume and mass, you can’t rely on that kind of intuition.
1/8th teaspoon of flour for example is going to have a different mass from kosher salt because the granule size is different among other things. With bulk powder supplements, things like moisture, clumping, variations in batches and so on will typically make one-scoop dosages vary from powder to powder.
Even similar substances do not yield the same dosages per scoop. Looking at caffeine citrate versus caffeine anhydrous, a 0.15 cc scoop of caffeine citrate will yield ~100 mg of caffeine whereas a 0.15 cc scoop of caffeine anhydrous will yield ~50 mg of caffeine. Since caffeine can be deadly when used recklessly and irresponsibly, this is not a mistake you want to make.
Because of the variation in powder densities, you can’t rely on the measuring scoops that come with your supplements to determine the number of milligrams if you haven’t measured beforehand, at least if you want precision.
Generally bulk supplements tell you how much of a dose is in the included scoop, but it’s only an estimation. For example, I will rely on the scoop if the precise dosage is not important for a substance like vitamin C and I can take the manufacturer’s estimated dosage per scoop in good faith.
Where dosage is everything, a scale is important. There are no substitutes.
Which scale is right for me?
I began with the former one because it was cheaper, but I find that if you want to measure exactly 20 mg for example, you will be better off with the 0.001 gram precision scale.
You don’t really need anything fancy, just something to verify that the dosage you just scooped out is somewhere in the ballpark of the correct one. To calibrate your scale after it arrives, if you don’t have a precise weight, just get some coins. 1
In the US, a nickel weighs exactly 5 grams, and any penny made after 1983 weighs 2.5 grams. You can generally find the weight of the currencies used in your country.
I can understand if you were left a little miffed at the fact that you have to use a scale to determine exact measurements of bulk supplements. It’s not the most convenient thing to do, but it’s the only way to do it until you know how big of a dosage you’re getting in a scoop.
However, the advantage of bulk supplements besides lower cost is that you can control exactly how much you take and when.
When you determine the approximate dosage you get from a given scoop by using a scale, you can feel more reassured that you’re taking the amount that you want to take, and you know that you’re getting exactly the dosage and the product that you are paying for.
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|1.||↑||How to calibrate a digital pocket scale|