Amidst the growing controversy that has shrouded 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA), consumers and regulatory agencies alike are tired of not knowing the truth. It is still unknown as to whether DMAA is a constituent of geranium oil or a drug that has been synthetically manufactured. Subsequently, determining the origins of such a supplement will undoubtedly have overwhelming ramifications on whether it is sold as a food supplement or drug. However, the current debate has reached a stalemate and seems to have no end in sight.
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. The increasingly popular ingredient can be found in a growing number of DMAA products that re currently on store shelves. Perhaps the most popular products found to contain DMAA are two dietary supplements marketed under the names Jack3d and OxyElite Pro. However, misconceptions regarding the origins of DMAA have caused a great deal of controversy in the pharmaceutical industry.
Despite the relative safety issues surrounding the use of DMAA products, the most pressing issue at the moment comes from toxicological and regulatory viewpoints. Regulatory agencies and consumers around the world are still left to question the origins of DMAA. Is DMAA derived from the geranium plant as manufacturers claim, or is it a synthetically manufactured compound? Determining the answer to this question is a top priority, for the truth will decide DMAA is being marketed as an illegal substance or not.
It is vital to determine the ambiguous origins of this ingredient because if the DMAA current labs are using does indeed come from the geranium plant, then botanical grandfathering may back the ingredient’s legitimacy in the United States. However, if research discovers that DMAA is a synthetic compound produced in a lab, regulatory agencies around the world would immediately regard DMAA dietary supplements as illegal because they contain an unapproved drug.
While evidence is crucial to determining the origins of DMAA, it is far from substantial. The only thing manufactures have done to this point, is establish a website that defends the highly controversial 1996 Ping study. According to the Ping research, which was published in a non-reputable journal of chemistry, DMAA is a natural derivative of geranium plants found in the Rongjiang province of China. The website continues to refute other studies that failed to find traces of DMAA in geranium oil, saying they used the wrong type of geranium oil.
However, researchers around the world find it difficult to concur with the claims made by DMAA manufacturers. In a statement recently issued by Health Canada, officials acknowledged that DMAA is synthetically manufactured and not a derivative of geranium plants. John Travis, manager of clinical operations for NSF International and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) analytical laboratories committee, in association with existing scientific literature, concurred with the findings made by Health Canada.
Steven Dentali, AHPA’s chief science officer stated that “there are no known-published reports indicating that this is a natural product. Any labeling stating that it is naturally occurring in geranium, or any other natural source, would need appropriate scientific evidence to support it. None has yet been found in the public domain.”
Unfortunately, tests seem to be no closer than they originally were. The unwillingness to provide evidence, or lack there of, has proven harmful to the entire process. As a result, DMAA products are currently on store shelves until this issue can be determined.
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