Synthetic geranium still raising industry red flags

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gnc

'13-Dimethylamylamine' is listed on Jack3d's Supplement Facts panel
'13-Dimethylamylamine' is listed on Jack3d's Supplement Facts panel
An unauthorized synthetic form of geranium oil – known as 1.3-dimethylpentylamine – remains on-market in major-label dietary supplements, although a retailer crackdown has some “fringe” supplement manufacturers looking for other stimulants to illegally boost product efficacy.

One industry observer said with some retailers refusing to sell products containing 1.3-dimethylpentylamine, other unauthorized herbal extracts and their synthetic cousins are gaining prominence with unscrupulous supplement makers.

These include Salvinorin A (derived from from Salvia divinorum​), mitragynine (from Mitragyna speciosa​) and nuciferin. All tend to end in weight loss products or those aimed at the body building market. They are also used in 'herbal high' products.

Industry members are especially concerned that consumption of these potent stimulants may lead to serious injury or death as was the case with ephedra before it was banned by the FDA under the 1994 Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act (DSHEA) in 2003.

“Retailers seem to be clamping down on 1.3-dimethylpentylamine,”​ said one industry observer. “As a result everyone is desperately seeking the next 'jack me up' compound as the replacement.”

Despite that observation major retailers like GNC continue to freely sell products containing the ingredient, although it can be difficult to determine if they are geranium extracts or synthetically derived.

One product, called Jack3d, lists an ingredient called ‘13-Dimethylamylamine (Geranium [Stem])’ on the product’s webpage that also makes the claim: “This product produces an intense sensation of drive, focus, energy, motivation & awareness. In addition, it allows for rapid increases in strength, speed, power & endurance.”

That link can be found here.

A GNC spokesperson said product enquiries should be directed at the manufacturer, USP Labs, but that company was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

USP Labs’ own website page for Jack3d – found here​ – contained a disclaimer that references the ingredient's banned status with some sporting organizations : “…compounds such as caffeine, creatine & 1,3 dimethylamylamine (also known as methylhexanamine, 2-amino-4-methylhexane & 1,3-dimethylpentylamine – a natural constituent of the geranium flower) may not be allowed by your specific sports organization. It’s completely up to the user to get this and any dietary supplement cleared by their organization before using.”

Further information adds: “Geranium has a long history of being used for many purposes in the food supply. It contains a constituent that may provide a boost to your workouts & help you power through tough set after tough set – always ready to take on the next challenge.”

Increasing concern

Commenting on the subject of economically motivated adulteration (EMA), Mark Blumenthal, the founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC), said: There is increasing concern by some experts that there is significant intentional adulteration – not just contamination – usually inintentional – of numerous dietary ingredients for a variety of economic motivations.”

He said the ABC was working with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia to produce a ‘Botanical Adulterants White Paper’ that will, “list known adulterants and analytical methods to detect them, in the hope of reducing some of this kind of fraud.”

It was expected to be published in the Summer or Fall.

Blumenthal noted that Salvinorin A is, “a traditional psychoactive plant which has become quite popular and controversial.”

A little after publication of this story, the GNC spokesperson added: "GNC strictly complies with all applicable statutes and regulations, and requires its vendors to represent and warrant that the products they sell do as well."

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