Updated: NSF and USADA voice concerns over USPlabs’ DMAA analysis

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Updated: NSF and USADA voice concerns over USPlabs’ DMAA analysis

Related tags Geranium Dmaa

Analytical experts from NSF International and USADA have voiced concerns over the new DMAA analysis that claims to confirm the presence of DMAA in geranium, NutraIngredients-USA can report.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, Ed Wyszumiala, general manager of dietary supplements programs at analytical testing firm NSF International, described the paper as “interesting”, and asked, “why is DMAA only found in geranium grown in China and not in the same species grown elsewhere?”

Wyszumiala added that no information is provided in the paper, published in Analytical Chemistry Insights​, about sample handling, and the chain of custody of the samples. “How was the geranium grown, who obtained the material, how was it handled, and was there any manipulation of the sample?”

The highly anticipated study by scientists at Intertek AAC Labs and funded by USPLabs – the company behind best-selling Jack3d supplement containing DMAA – was published last week.

To read our coverage of the Intertek AAC Labs/USPlabs study, please click here​.


Prior to its publication, only one other study had ever reported the presence of DMAA in geranium plant material – the highly criticzed Ping Paper published in the Journal of Guizhou Institute of Technology​ (1996, Vol. 25, pp. 82-85).

Despite both papers reporting the presence of DMAA in geranium plant material, they do not support each other, according to Amy Eichner, PhD, Special Advisor on Drugs and Supplements for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Dr Eichner told NutraIngredients-USA: “Li et al (2012) claimed to detect DMAA at less than 0.000001% in geranium. There are several major methodological flaws in the Li paper which raises serious doubts about what they detected, but two things are clear: Like ElSohly et al. (2012)​ and Zhang et al. (2012)​ this paper refutes the Ping paper (which stated there was 0.3% MHA in ​P graveloens), and confirms that the DMAA in dietary supplements could not possibly originate from geranium oil.”


Wyszumiala, and his colleague John Travis, noted that the Intertek AAC Labs/USPlabs paper did not discuss the studies by ElSohly et al. (2012) and Zhang et al. (2012). “There is no reference to studies done by independent research labs and institutions, all of which show contradictory data,”​ said Wyszumiala.

Stereochemistry issue has been a main part of the argument against the presence of DMAA in geranium, since the presence of stereoisomers at equal levels is indicative of synthetic production (known as a racemic mixture), while only one form tends to dominate in nature (because they are made via enzymatic processes and enzymes favor one form over another).

The Intertek analysis found that both synthetic 1,3-DMAA reference material and​ the 1,3-DMAA in geranium plants and geranium oils were racemic. Indeed, the researchers note that the isomers are “present in equal amounts and which are identical in all tested samples”​.

Commenting on the racemic issue, Travis noted: “The racemic issue is an oddity. The chromatograms generated ratios exactly the same as the synthetic form. Even if it is found in nature as a racemic mixture there should be some inter-plant variation, and it shouldn’t be exactly the same. This is kind of fishy.”

With such concerns and questions, Wyszumiala said: “We’d like to obtain certified seed of these geranium plants and try to reproduce these data. Single lab reproducibility is not the same as a reproducible study.”

We will run more comment from independent analytical experts as it becomes available. 


In response to the points above, a spokesperson for USPlabs told NutraIngredients-USA yesterday: "The conclusion of the Intertek Labs study – confirming the presence of 1,3 DMAA in Chinese geranium – is not being disputed. This study, and others forthcoming, end the debate and make certain that 1,3 DMAA is a naturally occurring compound.” 

Related topics Research DMAA Energy

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