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Workout Supplements made with Untested Stimulant, Study Warns

Update Date: Oct 10, 2014 10:33 AM EDT
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Workout supplements could potentially be dangerous, a new study reported. Researchers headed by Pieter Cohen, from Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, found an untested stimulant used in some dietary supplements.

"All the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) would need to do is look at the labels of the products that we studied and they could immediately see . . . that this is not an ingredient that was previously in supplements," Cohen stated to Reuters Health.

The ingredient in question is called DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine), which is a synthetic stimulant. According to the researchers, DMBA is very similar to another compound, DMAA, which has been linked to causing heart attacks, seizures and neurological complications. In 2012, the FDA mandated companies to stop selling supplements made with DMAA.

DMBA, scientifically known as 2-amino-4-methylpentane or 2-amino-4-methylpentanamine, is often listed as AMP Citrate, 4-amino-2-methylpentane citrate, 4-amino-2-pentanamine, Pentergy and 4-AMP.

Last month, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which is a dietary supplement industry group, drafted a letter to the FDA asking the agency to take regulatory action on the ingredient, AMP Citrate. According to the CRN, AMP Citrate is being marketed as the next DMAA.

"CRN is concerned about the potential dangers to consumers who may be using possible unsafe supplements containing Amp Citrate," the authors wrote.

The team searched the Internet for any dietary supplement products that had any of these ingredients listed on their labels. They found 14 dietary supplement products and sent a bottle of each one to two different labs. The products were mostly marketed as sports or weight loss supplements as well as brain enhancers. The analyses revealed that 12 of the supplements used DMBA.

"This is probably just a fraction of the supplements in the U.S. that contain this new designer stimulant," said Cohen. He added, according to USA Today, "We want the FDA and we want the stores to immediately remove these products from store shelves."

The FDA has responded, stating, "Manufacturers of dietary supplements are responsible for ensuring that their supplements are safe and, where required, must submit a new dietary ingredient notification before marketing. Our pre-market authority for dietary supplements is limited to the requirement for NDI notification. We take this matter seriously and are considering the next steps."

The study was published in the journal, Drug Testing and Analysis.

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