Geranium oils do not contain the stimulant DMAA-MHA, according to new research that once again questions the study often cited by pre-workout and weight loss supplements claiming it does.
After an analysis of the Chinese study (Ping et al), along with geranium oils, DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine)-MHA (methylhexanamine) ingredients and four supplements containing them, the researchers concluded the labelling practice was a “marketing ploy”.
The researchers, led by Angelo Lisi from the National Measurement Institute in Australia, also said the status of another “doping agent” called a and b-phenethylamine needed investigating.
“These studies as well as closer scrutiny of the original publication by Ping et al show that geranium oils do not contain methylhexaneamine and the use of the name Geranamine for this compound appears to have been a marketing ploy which has resulted in a large number of athletes returning adverse findings,” they wrote in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.
“Other stimulants used in supplements can also cause adverse findings and the status of compounds such as a and b-phenethylamine as doping agents needs to be determined.”
DMAA-MHA’s presence in sports supplements has led to the banning of 76 athletes around the world since 2008, as the ingredient appears on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list .
But illegal enhancement of sporting performance aside, adverse events are mounting against it, including the deaths of two US servicemen that are suspected of being linked to DMAA use. While that occurs, all DMAA-containing supplements have been stripped from US military bases.
Investigations of its source and safety are ongoing in the US, France and Italy and the Council for Responsible Nutrition UK (not affiliated with the US CRN) recently condemned DMAA-MHA as non-authorised in the European Union at least.
Ping lost in translation: “Their assignments of structure are dubious”
In the Drug Testing and Analysis paper the researchers state after testing the ingredients and supplement products by mass spectrum and urine samples that, “methylhexaneamine was not found in any of the geranium oils”.
It then affirms previous doubts about the findings of the Ping study, “that their identification was incorrect or possibly incorrectly translated.”
After analysing chromatogram peaks they suggest the detection of 4-methyl-2-hexanamine and 5-methyl-2-hexanamine in Ping was due to a mistranslation or misidentification. What had been found was in fact 2-hexanamide,4-methyl and 2-hexanamide,5-methyl, different molecules altogether.
“This trace also has the compounds eluting late in the chromatogram whereas methylhexaneamine is very volatile and elutes very early requiring low GC [gas chromatography] starting temperatures which is inconsistent with this publication.”
“Considering that the researchers simply ran the chromatogram then library searched each peak and presumably reported the best match without analysis of any standards, their assignments of structure are dubious.”
The study analysed four supplements - Adrenaline, Bang, Lipo 6 Black, and Phenadrine - and found significant differences between their labelled contents and constituent parts. All claimed to possess DMAA-MHA, caffeine, a and b- phenethylamine and phenpromethamine, but in fact Adrenaline contained only DMAA, Bang just caffeine, Lipo 6 Black solely a and b- phenethylamine. Phenadrine contained DMAA and phenpromethamine.
US-based USP Labs – maker of popular DMAA-containing workout and slimming products Jack3D and OxyElite Pro – says it is in possession of new data that, “further demonstrate the occurrence of DMAA in the geranium plant, Pelargonium graveolens, and its edible oil.”
Drug Testing and Analysis
3: 873–876. doi: 10.1002/dta.392
‘Studies of methylhexaneamine in supplements and geranium oil’
Authors: Lisi, A., Hasick, N., Kazlauskas, R. and Goebel, C.