January 31, 2013 — The dietary supplement DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine, or “geranium oil”) has been linked to the death of a London Marathon runner. Claire Squires, 30, collapsed and died during the 25th mile of the 26.2-mile course in April 2012. According to the coroner, she died of cardiac failure due to exertion that was complicated by DMAA toxicity. Her loved ones reported that she put a scoop of a supplement called Jack3D, which contains DMAA, in her water bottle.
Ms. Squires was running the marathon to raise £500 for charity. After her death, donations reached £1 million. She was raising money for the Samaritans, a charity where her mother volunteered. More than 600 people attended her funeral service.
At least two other deaths have been linked to DMAA. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) banned sales of DMAA on military bases following the deaths of two soldiers who suffered fatal cardiac arrests during routine training exercises in the American Southwest.
DMAA was banned in Britain in August, several months after Ms. Squires died. At the time she took the supplement, it was completely legal and widely available in the country. DMAA has also been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, several European countries, Australia, and New Zealand. However, DMAA products (including Jack3D) remain widely available over the internet and in some retail supplement stores. DMAA has not been officially banned in the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked DMAA to dozens of adverse events, including high blood pressure and increased heart rhythm, which can be fatal in combination with extreme exercise. The FDA has also warned that it has been linked to psychiatric events, heart attacks, stroke, and death.
DMAA has mild amphetamine-like effects. Products containing DMAA are widely marketed toward athletes as a pre-workout energy booster. It is also frequently marketed as a weight-loss supplement and in party pills.
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