AHPA takes '1st stand' on labeling of DMAA–geranium oil

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

AHPA takes '1st stand' on labeling of DMAA–geranium oil

Related tags Geranium oil Geranium

Members of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) will be required to not label 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) as geranium oil, following an approval by the association’s Board of Trustees.

The trade requirement, which takes effect January 13, 2012, requires AHPA members to not label DMAA as geranium oil or as any part of the geranium plant, whether by the common name of geranium or by the botanical name of any plant known as geranium (Pelargonium​ spp.).

1,3-Dimethylamylamine is also known as 1,3-dimethylpentylamine, methylhexaneamine (MHA), methylhexanamine, methylhexamine, 4-methyl-2-hexanamine, and 2-amino-4-methylhexane. The compound is used in dietary supplements for weight loss and bodybuilding.

However, the new requirement does not prevent members from labelling of any compound “that is in fact derived from geranium plant materials by that compound's common or usual name”​, said AHPA.

To view the trade requirement, please click here​.

The compound

American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly filed a patent on DMAA in 1944 and trademarked the compound as Forthane in 1971. It was used as a nasal-decongestant.

According to a single analysis by Chinese researchers reportedly using gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques and published in the Journal of Guizhou Institute of Technology​ (1996, Vol. 25, pp. 82-85), DMAA is a constituent of geranium oil, but no other analysis has reported its presence.

In addition, the Chinese report has been criticized by several leading figures and questioned by reputable analytical laboratories.

Indeed, speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the SupplyExpo event in Anaheim in March, Ed Wyszumiala, general manager of dietary supplement programs at NSF International, said that analysis by his company strongly supported the conclusion that DMAA MHA was not a constituent of geranium oil. To listen to the interview, please click here​.

Applause for AHPA

Commenting today on the AHPA recommendation, Wyszumiala said the recommendation was a “positive step from industry that will help alleviate consumer confusion when reading labels and understanding which ingredients are present in the products they consume.

“This will also make a difference to help AHPA’s members in addressing the misclassification of botanicals with synthetic compounds, and is a responsible step for their association to take.

“Hopefully this is something that will be addressed and implemented by the entire industry, which would be a powerful step in showing industry self regulation and constraint,” ​added Wyszumiala.

Anthony Almada, a biochemist and president and CEO of GENr8, also applauded the recommendation, noting that the AHPA recommendation was the “first stand on this ingredient”​. To listen to our interview with Mr Almada about this issue, please click here​.

Gathering evidence

Mark Blumenthal, founder & executive director at the American Botanical Council (ABC) commended AHPA for having “taken leadership on this ingredient and formulated its trade recommendation”.

“As part of the American Botanical Council-American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Botanical Adulterants Project, we have placed the DMAA-‘Geranium Oil’ issue as an item of high interest on our list of herbs, herbal extracts, essential oils, etc. which are being reviewed for determination as to whether they are adulterated,”​ he said.

Blumenthal added that that the review is still to be conducted and that, for the present at least, “we accept the AHPA conclusions, which appear to track with the information we have gathered on this issue thus far”​.

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