USPLabs: DMAA is from geranium oil – and critics are ‘uninformed’

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Geranium oil Pelargonium graveolens

USPLabs: 'We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues directly with any legitimate chemist'
USPLabs: 'We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues directly with any legitimate chemist'
USPLabs has insisted that the DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine) in its Jack3d and OxyELITE Pro supplements is from geranium in the wake of continued speculation over the source and regulatory status of the popular stimulant.

 Asked about the source of the DMAA in its supplements - which are among several recently recalled from stores on US army and air force bases amid safety concerns – a USPLabs spokesman said:

DMAA is, in fact, a constituent of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and its derived oil and has been consumed as part of the human diet for more than 100 years.”

He added: “We have enlisted credentialed individuals and organizations to assist us in our endeavors​ [to prove the above]. As new information is released and published, we will quickly alert consumers regarding our findings.”

He did not however clarify whether the DMAA contained in Jack3d and OxyElite Pro was actually sourced from geranium or was a synthesized copy of a geranium extract, however.

Speculation and conjecture

As for those querying whether DMAA was even in geranium, he said: “There are flaws in the logic that certain individuals who attack the ingredient from an uninformed standpoint have been using. What is currently in circulation about the ingredient is speculation and conjecture professed by competitors and those who are not serious about researching specific and important aspects of geranium and its properties.

“Thus, it is easy for those individuals to irresponsibly allege and disperse false and misleading information which does not help the consumer or the industry. In addition, the processes and methodologies that certain chemists have cited contain critical errors in analytical methods and/or the oils used for these analyses."

He added: “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues directly with any legitimate chemist you have spoken to in order to begin a productive and informative dialogue on this very important research."


DoD: Too soon to tell if there is a relationship with DMAA [and soldier deaths]

His comments came as the Department of Defense continued its probe into the safety of DMAA following the deaths from cardiac arrest of two soldiers using DMAA containing products.

Col. John J. Lammie, MD – director, Health Policy Services, Office of the Surgeon General of the Army, told NutraIngredients-USA that the military had not yet come to any conclusions about DMAA and had ordered a recall of DMAA-containing supplements as a precautionary measure.


He added: “I want to emphasize that no link between DMAA and the medical conditions reported by military medical providers has been validated scientifically by us.


“While the DOD leadership and the USAPHC take these reports very seriously, all of these medical conditions have multiple causes. It is too soon to tell if there is a relationship with DMAA.”


Products held in storage

DMAA-containing supplements recalled by the military are ​being “held in storage pending the recommendations of DoD leaders after the scientific review is complete”, ​he said.


"USAPHC is assisting the Office of the Army Surgeon General's Health Policy and Services Directorate in conducting a study of potential health effects of DMAA.



"Medical, dietary and public health specialists are currently developing the methods and tools that will be used in the study. Both providers and service members will provide input. We anticipate it will take several months to conduct the study; timeframes could change, though."

The probe was launched as “two soldiers using DMAA containing products suffered cardiac arrest while exercising”, ​he said.


”One died immediately after the event, the other after a one month hospitalization. Both were found to have DMAA in their blood. We are reviewing any reports of side effects submitted by providers and reviewing available scientific literature.”

Ongoing debate over the source of DMAA

There is an ongoing debate about whether DMAA, which was first manufactured synthetically by drug giant Eli Lily in the 1940s, is in fact a constituent of geranium, as US supplement makers claim.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) recently told members they should not label DMAA as geranium oil or any part of the geranium plant, while Health Canada has also issued a statement arguing DMAA is not found in geranium and affirming that any products containing it require a drug authorization.

However, a statement released by Barry Lynch, associate director at Cantox Health Sciences International on September 6, claimed that USPLabs has commissioned data "from two independent and highly respected analytical chemistry laboratories" ​that supports the findings of a 1996 study (Ping, Z.; Jun, Q. & Qing, L. (1996), ‘A Study on the Chemical Constituents of Geranium Oil, Journal of Guizhou Institute of Technology 25 (1): 82–85), that is always referenced as proof that geranium oil contains DMAA.

The data is currently being prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals for publication, according to Lynch.

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Geranium Oil Testing

Posted by Mark C. Roman, Ph.D.,

I likewise have no stake in this debate, however I have known Jim Kababick for over 10 years now, and while he is a competitor of mine, I hold his analytical chemistry abilities in high regard, and his scientific integrity is beyond reproach. He certainly has nothing to gain by disputing the presence of DMMA in geranium oil, and risks alienating existing or potential clients, but he has never put business or politics ahead of the data.

Regarding the Ping data, Jim and I have had some extensive discussions on the paper. Since my Ph.D. is in analytical chemistry in the field of chromatography, and I have several dozen peer reviewed publications in chromatographic method development, optimization, and validation, I think I know a little bit of what I talk about. The observations made by Jim are correct - The DMMA, if present, should blow out of the chromatographic column under Ping's conditions, and not be one of the later eluting compounds. Furthurmore, the chromatographic conditions would seem to preclude the use of MS detection techniques due to the excessively high flow rates. The authors of the paper do not seem to be familiar with chromatographic theory, the Van Deemter equation, and method optimization.

As Jim also correctly pointed out, a DMMA level of 0.6% would give the material a strong amine odor; the nose can easily detect these amine compounds down below 0.1%. This is not to say that geranium oil contains no DMMA, but "none" is a relative term. As our instrumental techniques become more and more sensitive, we are getting to the point of being able to detect just about anything in anything. It may be quite possible that DMMA is present at a ppm, ppb, or even ppt levels in geranium oil. What boggles my mind, however, is that entire product lines have been developed containing DMMA in large milligram quantities based on highly questionable analytical data in one publication, and a highly questionable safety record.

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Geranium Oil

Posted by Jim Baker,

I have no stake in either side of the Geranium Oil debate. But, I have utilized Jim Kababicks’ company for testing over a twenty year period.

Unknown to J. Kababick, we have performed round robin on his results many times. Not because we questioned his results, but because verification of analytical results is a core component of our Quality Control strategy. Comparative testing proved Kabaick’s results were always within the parameters of the model we had constructed for our multi lab testing (Round Robin). This is not to say the returned data was always to our liking: but data is what it is. We make course corrections as necessary, and go forward. There are many of us that have performed verification of J.Kabaick’s work- and we still use him.

To not devalue the constructive Geranium debate in the eyes of those of us following this thread, I would suggest criticism of some untested facet which is not the tested facet of J.Kabaick’s integrity.

-Jim Baker

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Science Will Prevail

Posted by Michael D Levin,

Clearly, there is legal and regulatory controversy surrounding DMAA. Health Canada, New Zealand and other regulatory agencies have taken their position on this matter. That this agent was developed for commercial use after Benzedrex inhaler was "re-engineered" in the US market speaks to its mode of action.

I write not to offer my opinion on this matter, but instead in reaction to the defamatory comments leveled at Jim Kababick, a scientist of unimpeachable integrity. Having used the services of Flora Research Labs on numerous occassions over the past 10 years, I have been consistently impressed by their objectivity, their thoroughness and their expertise.

Hume wrote many years ago that "reason is slave to the passions" May I respectfully remind us that in matters of analytical chemistry, science will prevail.

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