1. What is DMAA?

DMAA or 1, 3-Dimethylamylamine is a very potent stimulant that has gained much popularity in sports performance drinks in recent years. Initially created and trademarked by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly for use as a nasal decongestant in the 1940’s, it was sold and marketed as Floradrene aka methylhexanamine. The compound disappeared from the market in the 1970’s. When the trademark expired in 2006 it reappeared once again when a chemist by the name of Patrick Arnold reintroduced it as a dietary supplement for weight loss and increased energy under the trademarked name “Geranamine”.

Many companies marketing products containing DMAA claim that it is a “natural stimulant” derived from the seed, stem, or oil of the geranium plant. However, this so called “natural” claim is based on a single study from a now-defunct journal. It is now believed that all DMAA on the market is synthetic. Furthermore, The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has banned its members from labeling DMAA as geranium oil, extract, stem, leaf, or any other part of the plant.

2. How does DMAA work?

DMAA works by stimulating the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (noradrenaline). This increases heart rate, breathing rate, causes vasoconstriction, and can give the user feelings of intense focus, increased energy, alertness, and strength.

Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance is quoted saying “In people’s bodies, DMAA acts like adrenaline, which is normally produced in times of stress”. This unnatural stimulation of adrenaline can place increased stress on the heart and body.

3. What are the side effects?

Tightening of the chest; shortness of breath
Rapid heart rate that could lead to a heart attack
Trembling; seizures
Anxiety, nervousness, depression, irritability
Heart failure and sudden cardiac death
Dehydration, cold sweats, light-headedness, loss of consciousness
Stroke, lethal exhaustion

4. What does the law say about its use?

The US military has recently recalled and banned the sale of all products containing DMAA/methylhexanamine from all military exchange stores worldwide. This came shortly after two young American soldiers suffered fatal heart attacks during training in 2010. During the autopsy it was reported that Methylhexanamine was found in their blood.

So far, the FDA has received 42 reports of adverse reactions involving products containing DMAA. As of April 27th2012 the FDA had issued warning letters to 10 leading manufactures of products containing DMAA which had sold these products without submitting studies proving their safety in people.

“Before marketing products containing DMAA, manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility under the law to provide evidence of the safety of their products. They haven’t done that and that makes the products adulterated,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Dietary Supplement Program.

Canada has already banned DMAA from all supplements and New Zealand has taken measures to ban the sale of bulk DMAA but is still allowing the sale of small quantities.

5. Where can I find DMAA?

DMAA can be found in products such as USP Labs Jack3d, Scivation Quake 10.0, Code Red, Hemo Rage Black, Hydroxystim, Napalm, and Nitric Blast.

About the Author

Chris Smith Chris Smith is one of Pulse Fitness’s expert personal trainers; he has 7 years of experience in the fitness industry. He is ISSA, TRX and Perform Better certified and continues industry specific education regularly. Chris enjoys working for a gym that has positioned itself as one of the few leading training studios in the industry and where he can pursue his passion for fitness and helping people. His clients call him The Monkey for his love of gymnast style exercise and how he can often be found hanging on the monkey bars.

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