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DMAA—What is it and why hasn’t it been banned in the U.S.?

2 comments

DMAA, known as dimethylamylamine, and also as methylhexanamine, has been around for quite awhile. In 1944, it was used in nasal inhalant to open up stuffy sinuses by the Eli Lilly drug company. That particular patent ran out a long time ago. But, at least since 2006, DMAA began to find its way into dietary supplements advertised to build muscle, enhance performance or to help people lose weight, including the dreaded belly fat.

According to Denise Mann, in an article of May 7, 2012, for WebMD Health News, “It is an ingredient in about 200 brand-name supplements including Code Red, Hemo Rage Black, Hydroxystim, Jack3D, Napalm, and Nitric Blast.” In February 2012, an article in The New York Times by Peter Lattman and Natasha Singer, revealed that this wonder compound was thought to have been a possible factor in the death of two U.S. soldiers who had used the compound during routine vigorous exercise,[1] as trace amounts of the compound were found in each of their systems following fatal cardiac events.

DMAA is a vasoconstrictor. It narrows blood vessels resulting in increased blood pressure, with the "benefits" being that it may provide a brief energy burst and short-term, increased concentration. Those who use it, however, may also experience chest pains, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, rapid heart rate and even heart attack. According to Mann, “The FDA has received 42 adverse event reports about products containing DMAA. Canada has already banned DMAA from all supplements.”[2] Pieter Cohen, MD, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in Mann’s article about DMAA: “It’s more potent than ephedra and ephedra has already been removed from the market.”[3] Cohen added, “There have been reports of death, stroke, and heart failure among people taking DMAA.”[4]

So what is the FDA doing? Presently, rather than using their recall authority, they are requesting information from the manufacturers of supplements containing DMAA substantiating that DMAA is safe. Safe? The industry’s Council for Responsible Nutrition in D.C. which apparently represents dietary supplement manufacturers, says “The jury is still out on whether DMAA is safe or not!”

It seems as if the FDA, despite what appears to be strong evidence of dangerous and potentially fatal side-effects, is dragging its feet, operating under a presumption that DMAA is safe. If DMAA is more potent that ephedra, what is holding the FDA back?


[1] “Army Studies Workout Supplements After Two Deaths”, Lattman, Peter and Singer, Natasha, The New York Times, February 2, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/business/army-studies-workout-supplements-after-2-deaths.html

[2] “Is Workout Supplement Ingredient DMAA Safe?”, Mann, Denise, WebMD Health News, May 7, 2012, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20120507/workout-supplement-ingredient-dmaa-safe

[3] Op. Cit.

[4] Ibid.

2 Comments

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  1. joe says:
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    Ok..so here’s the deal,dmaa is an amazing supplement that actually works. The companies that use the product are what should be in question, i have had pdoducts with way to much,this can be dangerous….but in defense of supplements…water dosen’t have a warning label but if you drink too much of it you can urinate out your electrolytes and die(anyone remember “hold your wee gor a wii?)
    Numerous studies have been done on the safety of this supplement and have come up very positive..but something to think of….
    Ephedra was banned when the fda came out with fenfen
    Hydrocycut was recalled right after fda released alli
    And now on the verge of the fda releasing 2 new diet drugs they are going after the product in the top 2dollar selling sports/weight loss supps on the market(oxy elite pro and jack3d respectivly) why? Because they work!
    The vaso restrictive effects of dmaa are less then that of a lg. Starbucks coffee…hmm maybe we should shutdown starbucks. Oh wait thats right they make money for the gov.
    oh and by the way…if you run through the dessert while taking something that eliminates water weight …you will die common sense can save you america..try it sometime..

  2. Hedgerrin says:
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    Joe just completely OWNED this thread with the 1st post.