Several sports products, containing dimethylamylamine (DMAA), have recently become the subject of great concern. While boasting the ability to enhance workouts through focus an energy, regulatory agencies question the status of their ingredients. To no avail, previous tests have been unable to determine if DMAA is a synthetically engineered drug or a natural derivative of geranium oil. According to the United Kingdom’s Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the inability to classify DMAA makes the ingredient illegal and therefore should be immediately banned by the European Union and member state authorities.
DMAA has been marketed as a dietary supplement ingredient in combination with caffeine and other ingredients to be used as an over-the-counter thermogenic or general purpose stimulant intended to increase workout energy and efficiency. However, misconceptions regarding the origins of DMAA have caused a great deal of controversy in the pharmaceutical industry.
DMAA products have recently been linked to several adverse health events, including at least two deaths in the United States. As a result, opponents of the ambiguous ingredient have been pushing for its removal from world markets. At the head of this movement is Peter Berry Ottoway. As the United Kingdom’s CRN technical director, Ottoway has suggested that DMAA lacks European Union novel food approval and is therefore illegal. As a result, Ottoway called on European Union and member state medicines and food supplement regulators to crack down on DMAA-containing products.
“If these products like USP Labs’ Jack3d are food supplements then DMAA needs EU novel foods approval which it does not have,” said Ottoway. He continued to acknowledge that “if they are medicines they need Traditional Herbal Medicinal Product Directive (THMPD) registrations which they don’t have either. So the law is clear. DMAA is illegal in the EU and should be stripped from shelves.”
Compounding the ambiguous nature of DMAA even further, are the deaths of two U.S. soldiers believed to have been linked to the stimulant. Mr. Graves, the Army spokesman, said that DMAA had been identified in the toxicology reports of the two soldiers who suffered fatal heart attacks during physical exercise. In addition to the two deaths, Graves acknowledged a possible link between products with DMAA and an influx of kidney failure, seizures, loss of consciousness and rapid heartbeat in other military personnel. As a result, the Army is currently evaluating whether the potential link warrants further action.
Even with the influx of adverse health events and subsequent legality issues, DMAA products remain on the market in the European Union. Their current situation witnesses the products take refuge in a “grey zone.” According to Ottoway, “there is a lack of desire to enforce for resourcing and other reasons so it is difficult to know when any action might be taken on this. But we have little doubt that the compound is dangerous and that there is the potential for more adverse events to occur.”
While legal enforcement has yet to occur, DMAA has already been classified as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
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