DMAA has been illegal for use as an ingredient in dietary supplements since 2013, but many dietary supplement products that contain (or at least claim to contain) DMAA are still available for sale. Before you take a dietary supplement containing DMAA, know that DMAA is prohibited for use by Service Members.
DMAA is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.
DMAA (short for 1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a stimulant similar to amphetamine and was originally developed in the 1940s as a nasal decongestant. In recent years, DMAA has been used in some dietary supplement products marketed for performance enhancement (such as pre-workouts) and weight loss. There has been some controversary around the claim that DMAA occurs naturally in geranium plants, but according to FDA, there isn’t any reliable scientific data to support this.
What are the health concerns with taking DMAA?
DMAA is a stimulant and vasoconstrictor, that is, it narrows blood vessels and arteries and increases blood pressure. FDA warns this could lead to problems such as heart attack, shortness of breath, and tightening of the chest. There is limited scientific research on the safety of DMAA, but products containing DMAA have been linked to several serious adverse events such as liver injury, cardiac arrest, stroke, brain hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), and death (following physical exertion). Numerous reports of adverse events involving products containing DMAA helped lead to FDA’s decision to prohibit the use of DMAA in dietary supplements.
Why is DMAA prohibited for use by Service Members?
DoD follows federal guidelines with regard to dietary supplements, and in April 2013, FDA declared DMAA illegal for use as a dietary supplement ingredient. DMAA presents a readiness risk to Service Members and is included on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.
How can I tell if my product contains DMAA?
DMAA goes by many names, but it’s often listed on a product’s Supplement Facts label as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, dimethylamylamine, or methylhexanamine. According to FDA, “some products will also list Pelargonium graveolens extract or Geranium extract, which may indicate that the product contains DMAA.” Without laboratory testing there is no way to know whether the “geranium extract” listed on the label is a different—possibly natural—ingredient (that is, not DMAA) or some form of synthetic DMAA.
Although DMAA has been prohibited as an ingredient in dietary supplements since 2013, products with DMAA continue to be produced and marketed, so it’s important to know what to look out for on labels. OPSS provides a list of commercial products that list DMAA on their product label or website, which also includes many of the terms for DMAA that could appear on a product label. The list includes current, discontinued, and reformulated products to help you identify dietary supplement products that might pose a risk due to the presence of DMAA.
For more information about DMAA, please read the DoD DMAA Safety Review Panel Report and visit FDA’s DMAA in Dietary Supplements.
Updated 12 October 2022