Controversial Dietary Supplement Ingredient Removed from Products

Following an April 2012 decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the dietary supplement ingredient known as DMAA has been removed from all dietary supplements manufactured in the U.S. The last of 10 manufacturers found to be using the ingredient in its dietary supplements as a workout booster, USPlabs informed its customers DMAA had been removed from its products on April 16, 2013. USPlabs had been under pressure to remove the ingredient after 86 illnesses, including at least five deaths, had been reported to the FDA and linked with DMAA use since 2008, according to the New York Times.

DMAA, which is also known as 1,3-Dimethlyamylamine, methylhexanamine or geranium extract, was originally developed in the 1940s by drug company Eli Lilly Company before being removed from the market as a nasal decongestant in the late 20th century. The chemical has since become an important ingredient used in many fat burners sold online and in retail stores throughout the U.S. The problems caused by DMAA became famous when two U.S. Army soldiers died in 2011 while taking part in physical training exercises at Fort Bliss, Texas; a third U.S. Army member died of heat stroke before products containing DMAA were removed from all stores on U.S. Military bases.

A U.S. Department of Defense investigation claimed DMAA was not directly responsible for the soldier’s deaths but did play a part in their medical conditions. With DMAA now banned from use in seven countries around the world, the FDA decided to class the ingredient as illegal in 2012, prompting USPlabs to challenge the ruling in court. USPlabs found studies disproving the FDA findings that DMAA caused blood pressure to rise and could cause mental problems and heart attacks in users. With pressure mounting on USPlabs to remove DMAA from its products the company finally relented in April 2013, although some older versions of USPlabs products are still available with DMAA. USPlabs fat burners containing DMAA include Jack3d and OxyElite Pro.

It is thought that DMAA is included in many other supplements under one of ten names, making it difficult to track down. The FDA has reported DMAA fat burning products are particularly dangerous when they are consumed alongside products containing caffeine.

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