Untested Stimulant Found in Popular Fitness Supplements

Similar to compound banned for major health risks

Your fitness regimen probably won't kill you, but your supplements might. (John Howard/ThinkStock)
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Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered large amounts of synthetic stimulant DMBA, a compound only a few atoms removed from being Food and Drug Administration-banned DMAA, in a number of popular exercise supplements. DMAA was banned in 2012, reports Live Science, because its use was linked to heart problems, nervous system disorders, and death.

Researchers analyzed 14 widely sold supplements on suspicions that producers might have replaced DMAA with DMBA under names like AMP citrate. DMBA has been tested only a few times on animals some 70 years ago, and never on humans. The results, published in Drug Testing and Analysis, show statistically significant amounts of DMBA in 12 supplements marketed as enhancing athleticism, brain function, and weight loss.

The amount of DMBA ranged from 12 to 130 milligrams per serving; if customers followed guidelines for maximum intake of the tested supplements, they would consume up to 320 mg daily. Caffeine, an FDA-approved stimulant, is considered safe by the Mayo Clinic in dosages up to 400 mg per day.

Manufacturers claim to derive AMP citrate from plants like pouchong tea, but as CBS News points out, none have successfully produced evidence of this. Regardless, use of DMBA as a supplement ingredient is still legal. The FDA can’t ban a compound until it appears on the market and undergoes testing, and many manufacturers take advantage of this by continually modifying banned substances.

DMBA was found in the following supplements:

  • Frenzy (Driven Sports)
  • Contraband (Iron Forged Nutrition)
  • Redline White Heat, MD2 Meltdown (Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
  • Evol, Decimate Amplified (Genomyx LLC)
  • Oxyfit Xtreme, Synetherm (planetarynutrition.com)
  • AMPitropin, AMPilean (Lecheek Nutrition)
  • OxyphenXR AMP'D (Beta Labs Ltd.)

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