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, 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.” 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.” Cohen added, “There have been reports of death, stroke, and heart failure among people taking DMAA.”
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?
 “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
 “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
 Op. Cit.