April 7, 2015 — Researchers at Harvard have found an amphetamine-like ingredient in 11 supplements marketed for “all-natural” weight-loss and sports enhancement, according to a study published in Drug Testing & Analysis.
The amphetamine isomer β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA) was first synthesized in the early 1930s, but its safety in humans has not been studied. Animal studies from the 1930s and 40s found that BMPEA could raise blood pressure and heart rate.
In 2013, the FDA discovered BMPEA in 9 out of 21 supplements labeled as containing Acacia rigidula. The agency concluded that BMPEA does not occur naturally in Acacia rigidula and the ingredient is chemically similar to amphetamines. However, the FDA did not issue a warning for consumers or shut down manufacturers.
Last year, researchers decided to test supplements to see if BMPEA had actually been removed. More than half (11 out of 21, or 52.4%) of the Acacia rigidula supplements still contained BMPEA.
In some cases, users who took the recommended dose of the supplements would consume 93.7-mg of BMPEA per day. The researchers called for immediate enforcement action by the FDA:
“Consumers of Acacia rigidula supplements may be exposed to pharmacological dosages of an amphetamine isomer that lacks evidence of safety in humans. The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements.”
The study was conducted by Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Last year, he found a powerful synthetic amphetamine-like stimulant known as DMBA in twelve supplements.
In another study, Dr. Cohen’s research team has found that when the FDA recalls dietary supplements, the same products are often back on shelves within one year with the same illegal ingredients or even more unapproved ingredients.
The following Acacia rigidula weight-loss supplements were found to contain BMPEA, according to Consumer Reports:
- Aro Black Series Burn (Vitocost)
- Dexaprine XR (IForce Nutrition Tribravus Enterprises)
- MX-LS7 made by iSatori
- Black Widow (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Lipodrene Hardcore (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Lipodrene Xtreme (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Stimerex-ES (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Yellow Scorpion (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Fastin-XR (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
BMPEA was also found in the following sports supplements:
- Jet Fuel T-300 (GAT)
- Jet Fuel Superburn (GAT)
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