The U.S. military has pulled the popular supplement Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) from shelves of stores and commissaries on bases until it conducts a review of two recent deaths linked to its use.
According to a FoxNews.com report, DMAA was discovered during separate autopsies of soldiers who died following physical training sessions with fellow soldiers. It is believed DMAA is likely responsible for the untimely deaths. The dietary supplement is designed to help soldiers “meet the strong physical demands” of training sessions with the military, the report indicates.
Of the myriad supplements containing DMAA, the most popular available at the retail level is named JACK3D, manufactured by USP Labs. The company stands behind its product, believing it is safe and has been used 440 million times by consumers without any reported incidents.
A 22-year-old soldier died last summer after collapsing during a training run at an unnamed military base and in another incident just a few months later, a 32-year-old soldier collapsed during a fitness test. That soldier eventually died a month later, never leaving the hospital after his collapse. In each autopsy, traces of DMAA were found in the soldiers’ bodies and the agent is a likely suspect in the deaths.
DMAA is derived from geranium oil. In the U.S., the product is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but not as strictly as it is in Canada, where it is considered to be like a drug and not widely available as it is domestically. Until this point, the FDA has considered DMAA a “safe” dietary additive.
The Dept. of Defense acted to remove dietary supplements which use DMAA from the shelves of stores on military bases but that doesn’t remove the possibility that soldiers or the general public can access it. Fox News reports products containing DMAA are still available at national retailers like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe.
It is likely DMAA’s presence on the market as a safe dietary supplement may be coming to an end and the report indicates some makers of supplement products have begun preparing for a possible ban on the substance. Several manufacturers told the news source it was replacing DMAA with an alternative, N-Methyltyramine, though many still believe DMAA is a safe product, especially when taken in “sensible doses.”
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recently begun cracking down on manufacturers of dietary supplements, a booming business during a struggling economy, with millions of Americans taking at least one supplement as a means of generating more energy or as a weight-loss aid. Numerous manufacturers have been visited by U.S. Marshals with orders to seize products containing illegal, undeclared or unapproved pharmaceutical agents which could cause immediate harm to people who take them not knowing they contain anything more than listed on the label.
A spokesperson with the agency told Fox News it was reviewing the safety record of DMAA and its possible role in the recent military deaths and will determine if further action is needed.