Stimulant marketed as 'natural' in sports supplement actually of synthetic origin

Jul 12, 2012

A new study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis found that DMAA, a stimulant often found in many nutritional and sports supplements, does not originate from natural substances and is actually comprised of synthetic compounds.

The substance DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a existing in various pre-workout supplements and often labeled as part of geranium plants. The safety and origin of DMAA in these supplements is often the subject of intense debate and has been recently linked to the death of two U.S. soldiers, causing the Army to pull the supplement from its commissaries.

Researchers led by Daniel W. Armstrong, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Arlington, set out to determine the unique isomeric ratios of synthetic substances (DMAA) and which are distinctly different and therefore can be used to distinguish between the two. Eight different geranium extracts of different were examined for the presence of DMAA. No DMAA was found in any of the geranium extracts.

Results showed that the DMAA actually consists of 4 different compounds called stereoisomers and that the unique isomeric ratios in synthetic DMAA were the same as those found for the DMAA in all supplements. Thus, the DMAA in supplements could not have originated from the geranium plant.

"The FDA should regulate and/or ban products in which significant amounts of synthetic pharmacological compounds are added," Armstrong opined. "Also, this information should be clearly labeled – including their effects and possible side effects – so that consumers can make an informed choice.

Explore further: Nano-sized chip "sniffs out" explosives far better than trained dogs

Related Stories

US watchdog warns on fitness stimulant

Apr 27, 2012

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday questioned the safety of DMAA, a stimulant used in dietary supplements, alleging that marketers were illegally selling the chemical.

Pressure builds to ban dietary supplement DMAA

Jun 07, 2012

Joseph Perez used to gear up for his intense workouts by taking ephedra-based dietary supplements. When they were banned because of safety concerns, Perez turned to an even more potent stimulant called DMAA.

FDA seizes sexual enhancement products

Apr 10, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the seizure by U.S. marshals of more than 14,000 units of Shangai- and Naturale-brand diet supplements.

FDA issues supplement rules

Jun 23, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued new government standards for the manufacture of vitamins and dietary supplements.

Plant food supplements in the spotlight

Feb 02, 2012

Natural food does not always mean safe food. EU-funded researchers have discovered that the compounds found in some botanicals and botanical preparations, such as plant food supplements, may be detrimental ...

Recommended for you

A new approach to creating organic zeolites

22 hours ago

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

A tree may have the answers to renewable energy

Jul 23, 2014

Through an energy conversion process that mimics that of a tree, a University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientist is making strides in renewable energy technologies for producing hydrogen.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Royale
not rated yet Jul 12, 2012
stereoisomers of DMAA? or of something else?
Husky
Jul 12, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
dacarls
not rated yet Jul 13, 2012
If there was any natural DMAA present, and the same evaluations for stereoisomers were done, it would find only two structures (R-, or S-) for each asymetrically- substituted carbon. Since there are 2 asymetric carbons in DMAA, there should be just ONE of 4 possible stereoisomers (R,R-, R,S-, S,R- or R,R-). If all 4 are present, it was made synthetically. Separation of these stereoisomers was NOT attempted, as it is likely to be very expensive.
dacarls
not rated yet Jul 13, 2012
By the way- the 3 synthetic stereoisomers are likely to be inactive, or possibly even toxic. Only the (unknown?) natural stereoisomer is likely to be bioactive- if it is ever found in somebody's geraniums??? Where in China does this synthetic product come from?
Royale
not rated yet Jul 13, 2012
Thank you dacarls!
"the 3 synthetic stereoisomers are likely to be inactive, or possibly even toxic".
This is why I freak out that generic meds are allowed to have stereoisomers.. Ambien for instance worked great for me back when I needed it. The generic form bought at Cosco did literally nothing.. just makes me wonder...