May 9, 2012 — Despite growing evidence regarding the dangers of DMAA, it technically remains legal in the United States. Dr. Pieter Cohen, a researcher at Harvard, has recently published an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine advocating for an outright ban of DMAA to settle the issue once and for all. He cites growing evidence linking DMAA to severe health risks, including death, and chides the FDA for allowing DMAA to ever be sold in dietary supplements.
Dr. Cohen is calling on the FDA to immediately ban DMAA. So far, the FDA has only sent warning letters to ten different manufacturers of DMAA dietary supplements. The companies are not being cited for DMAA health risks, but rather, for failing to provide the FDA with a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) notification, which would have provided safety information and asked for the FDA’s endorsement of the ingredient.
Instead, the manufacturers claimed that DMAA is a natural, botanical extract from the geranium plant. Furthermore, they claim that the ingredient has been used in food for many years.
Dr. Cohen argues that there is no evidence supporting the legitimate use of DMAA in dietary supplements, and furthermore, “this pharmaceutical chemical has absolutely no place in the supplement world. We’ve seen six years of inappropriate sales for something that should not have been there in the first place.” The pharmaceutical drug company Eli Lilly first synthesized DMAA and used it in a nasal decongestant. The FDA revoked approval of the drug in the 1970s.
One of the biggest problems with DMAA is that it is a stimulant, with potentially deadly side effects. Two deaths from cardiac arrest and 42 severe adverse events have been reported to the FDA. DMAA health risks include cardiac disorders, psychiatric disorders, central nervous system disorders, and death. The drug is known to elevate heart-rate and increase blood pressure — when combined with heavy exercise, these cardiovascular effects can be deadly.
Dr. Cohen warns, “at best, DMAA is a waste of money, and at worst, it can damage your health.”
Approximately 200 dietary supplements contain DMAA, and the estimated annual revenue from these products is around $100 million. Supplements such as OxyElite Pro and Jack3D are especially popular among fitness enthusiasts and people trying to lose weight.
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