If you take a supplement containing DMAA (dimethylamylamine) you should stop doing so immediately, according to a new report from the Food and Drug Administration labeling the drug “dangerous” and “illegal.” DMAA is found in certain supplements intended to assist with weight loss and body building. The side effects can include shortness of breath, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even heart attack, according to the FDA.
The announcement marks the first time the FDA has officially warned consumers about the potential dangers of DMAA. However, the organization has worked previously to get supplements including the ingredient stripped from the market. In 2012, the United States military removed DMAA-containing supplements from stores on military bases after suspecting that such supplements were related to two soldier deaths.
Only One Company Not Complying with FDA
A total of 11 companies received letters from the FDA in 2012 requesting that they stop manufacturing products with DMAA. Only one of the companies, USPlabs, failed to comply.
USPlabs manufactures two supplements that include DMAA – Jack3D and Oxy Elite Pro. USPlabs challenged the FDA’s requests by referring to studies indicating the safety of the supplements. However, the FDA’s new warning indicates that these studies lacked validity.
The Difficulty of Regulating Dietary Supplements
At least 60 people have fallen ill or even died as a result of taking DMAA-containing supplements, according to reports fielded by the FDA. These types of supplements have been on the market since 2007. While some proponents of DMAA, namely the manufacturers, say that the ingredient is safe because it is found in certain plants such as geraniums, there is no scientific evidence backing these claims. All of the DMAA used in supplements is produced synthetically.
One of the most commonly cited problems with dietary supplements is that they don’t require any FDA approval in order to be introduced to the market. Rather, they’re only regulated after they’ve been made available for sale to consumers. If the FDA then detects that the supplement is ineffective, dangerous or even both, it can take months or even years (as is obvious in this case) for the supplement to be banned. By the time this finally comes to pass, companies have had time to add new ingredients to products which, again, may or may not be safe.
According to Harvard Medical School medicine professor Dr. Pieter Cohen, the safest supplements tend to be ones primarily designed for the delivery of minerals and vitamins, and ones that only include a single ingredient. In addition, he says that consumers should look for supplements with certification from either NSF International or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP, not to be confused with USPlabs. The certifications serve as reassurance of the product’s safety and efficacy.
The Bottom Line
The FDA has issued a warning stating that DMAA, an ingredient found in some weight loss and strength training supplements, is illegal and dangerous. Some of the supplements that still contain this ingredient, Jack3D and Oxy Elite Pro, are manufactured by USPlabs.
The official news release containing the warning can be found at the website of the FDA.