As reported by NutraIngredients-USA before the holidays, the US Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores removed products containing DMAA or 1,3-dimethylamylamine (and also known as 1,3-dimethylpentylamine, methylhexanamine (MHA), and several other names) from its shelves.
"We support the decision of the Military Exchanges and Commissaries to remove products containing DMAA from their shelves until we can make a further determination about the safety of this ingredient," said Dr Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness.
"We are concerned about reports of heat illness, kidney (and) liver damage, and sudden death in service members who reportedly used products containing DMAA," he added.
The temporary moratorium on sales will remain in effect pending further review of relevant scientific evidence and reported events by the surgeons general of the military services, said officials.
"We take the health of our service members and families very seriously, and believe this action is necessary as a precautionary measure until we can learn more," said Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army surgeon general.
Problems in New Zealand
In addition to concerns within in the US Military, our sister site NutraIngredients.com reported today that a 21-year old New Zealand man has suffered a “cerebral hemorrhage” shortly after ingesting two DMAA-laced “party pills”.
Testing of the pills revealed the presence of only DMAA at a level of 278 milligrams. No other stimulants were detected.
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. The World Anti-Doping Agency lists MHA/DMAA as a prohibited stimulant in competition. Health Canada recently classified the compound as a drug.
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 published analysis has reported its presence.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) introduced a trade requirement (to take effect January 13, 2012) for its 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.
The compound and the products that contain it have been the recent focus of proposed class actions: Florida’s BPI Sports was hit with a proposed class action in the state of California in November 2011, while a complaint was also filed against USPLabs in California last month, which argued that the supplements OxyElite Pro and Jack3d contain DMAA in a “synthetic form that is both illegal and dangerous”.
Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), told NutraIngredients-USA that he expected more class actions to come.
“I hope that 2012 is the year that puts it [the DMAA issue] to bed,” he said. “There is a growing wave of dissatisfaction”, he added, pointing to the US Military action to pull DMAA containing products from shelves.
2012 is an Olympic year, and Tygart noted that the pressures on athletes are not going to stop, but “where the DMAA issue is really problematic is when a 10 year old can walk into a health store and buy these products”.