Synthetic geranium substance raises ephedra-like red flags

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Geranium oil, Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens

Synthetic versions of geranium oil are being illegally formulated into weight management products, according to several sources concerned industry may, “have another ephedra on our hands”.

One source who preferred not to be named said geranium oil substitutes were being used in weight loss and body building supplements marketed mostly by fringe internet companies but also major supplements brands whose products appeared in major retail outlets.

“This whole Geranamine things has been on our radar before – about 4-5 years ago, but it never went anywhere. This time around someone got some traction with a product and now everyone is following,” ​he said.

“Problem is, this story is going to end badly at some point, probably with some form of FDA action.”

The ingredients typically appear on-label as geranamine or geranium oil but are in fact 1.3-dimethylpentylamine, a chemical compound.

This is different to the dimethylpentylamine compound, which can be extracted from the geranium plant, but 1.3-dimethylpentylamine is manufactured in a lab, and it does not have approval for use in the US in dietary supplements.

“I think some of the companies here in the US are purchasing the synthetic material called “1 3-dimethylpentylamine” and labeling it as either geranamine or geranium oil to make it look like it comes from geranium, when in fact it has never seen a plant,” ​the source said.

He said much of the material originated in China.

Mark Blumenthal, the founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC) said the ingredient that can also be derived from oil of pelargonium, had blipped on his radar, but had yet to be studied in the scientific literature.

“I think concerns about possibly another ‘ephedra-like’ may be warranted, although to date, we have not conducted a lit review on this substance and thus cannot comment on its relative safety when ingested at doses which are presumably higher than those found in geranium oil (little of which is normally ingested by humans),”​ he said.

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