The U.K. has become the latest country to outlaw DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine), an ingredient used in popular weight loss and body building supplements. Over the past several months, DMAA has been linked to high blood pressure, headaches, vomiting, stroke and even a death, prompting the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to order all dietary supplements that contain DMAA off the market to protect public safety.
The U.K.’s ban on DMAA includes a Jack3D, a workout drink that is supposed to boost energy, metabolism and concentration. According to the Daily Mail, Jack3D is the most popular dietary supplement in the U.K. The MHRA has already issued eight urgent notices instructing retailers to remove the product and any other DMAA containing products from sale.
“People need to be aware when choosing their sports supplements. These products may claim to increase performance but contain powerful ingredients which can have serious side effect,” David Carter, manager of the MHRA’s Medicines Borderline Section, told the Daily Mail.
“We recommend people only use approved products and speak to a qualified medical practitioner if they have any concerns about any supplements they may be taking.”
DMAA was originally developed as a nasal decongestant, but is now used as an ingredient in “workout boosters” sold under brand names like Lean Efx, Napalm, Nitric Blast and Jack3D. Late last year, the U.S. Army pulled DMAA supplements from its commissaries after the sudden deaths of several soldiers were tied to the product. Then in late April, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 10 DMAA supplement makers, alleging sale of the chemical is illegal, as there was no evidence that DMAA deserved to be classified as a dietary supplement.
Some supplement makers have claimed that DMAA is a “natural stimulant” derived from geranium extract, but a number of recent studies have failed to show that is the case. In January, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the only national trade association that is focused on herbs and herbal products, informed its members that DMAA should not be labeled as a product of geranium oil.
Most recently, a study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis that examined eight different geranium extracts of different geographical origins concluded that the DMAA used in dietary supplements could not have originated from the geranium plant.
DMAA is also known as Methylhexanamine, Geranamine, Geranium oil and ‘Cranesbill’. According to the Daily Mail, DMAA is included on the list of prohibited list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency and has been responsible for 137 doping violations worldwide.
A growing number of countries have either issued warnings about the dangers of DMAA, or decreed bans on the ingredient. In addition to the U.S. and U.K., these countries include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Italy and Malta.