Ever since ephedrine was essentially banned from use, a new stimulant called DMAA has gained popularity. It is an ingredient usually used in combination with caffeine in pre-workout supplements. It has been touted as a natural ingredient derived from geranium plants. A recent study, performed by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington, says that it does not come from natural compounds at all and is actually synthetic.
Who doesn’t need a boost every now and then? This is especially true if you’re an athlete in training and you need to get that extra edge. Popular products like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro are found on the shelves of nutritional stores everywhere. Looking at their labels, it’s no wonder they are popular. The warning label on OxyElite Pro states “only those healthy adults capable of handling its quick results and power”. Grant it, this is obviously a marketing ploy. However, the real problem comes when you look at the ingredients. Below is a quote from OxyElit Pro’s ingredient list:
Geranium [Stems](extracted for 1,3-Dimethylamylamine)
Used for centuries as a food additive, Geranium contains a powerful constituent known as 1,3-Dimethylamylamine. The 1,3-Dimethylamylamine found inside acts as a super stimulant that resembles your body’s own chemical messenger, epinephrine…also known as adrenaline.
This is where Daniel W. Armstrong, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Arlington took issue and set out to prove if these claims were true. He tested extracts from 8 varieties of geranium from different geographical origins. The surprising result is none of them yielded DMAA. In other words, it’s impossible for these substances to have been extracted from geraniums. As a matter of fact, he found that it consisted 4 different compounds called stereoisomers and they were all related to synthetic DMAA.
Recently, the U.S. Army has pulled all supplements containing DMAA off the shelves of stores on its military bases. This action came after two soldiers died of heart attacks and were found to have the substance in their bodies. Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, was quoted by WebMD saying, “The main message about DMAA is that it should be avoided…This ingredient should never have been in supplements in first place.” The FDA has also asked the manufacturers who use this ingredient to supply them with safety related information.
The bottom line is that DMAA may not be the safe, all natural stimulant the manufacturers would have you to believe. According to WebMD, DMAA may “narrow blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure and lead to shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, or even heart attack.”
Dr. Armstrong’s study was published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.