Nothing Natural About Dietary Supplement DMAA: Study

Manufacturers falsely claim compound found in sports supplements is derived from geraniums, researchers say

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WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Manufacturers of some sports supplements are falsely claiming a compound known as DMAA is a natural substance derived from geraniums, researchers say.

Instead, research shows that DMAA is synthetic, consisting of four compounds called stereoisomers.

DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a stimulant found in some nutritional and sport supplements. Researchers analyzed eight different geranium extracts from plants grown in a variety of regions and found no traces of DMAA in any of them. In addition, the chemical makeup of supposedly natural, plant-derived DMAA was identical to that of admittedly synthetic DMAA.

Researchers concluded the DMAA found in supplements could not have come from the geranium plant.

"The FDA should regulate and/or ban products in which significant amounts of synthetic pharmacological compounds are added," study author Daniel Armstrong, of the University of Texas at Arlington, said in a journal news release. "Also, this information should be clearly labeled, including their effects and possible side effects, so that consumers can make an informed choice."

The study was published recently in Drug Testing and Analysis.

The safety of DMAA has been called into question in recent years. In 2011, following the deaths of two U.S. soldiers who had heart attacks during training exercises and had taken DMAA, the U.S. Department of Defense removed supplements containing DMAA from its stores on military bases.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides more information on dietary supplements.

SOURCE: Wiley-Blackwell, news release, July 2012

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