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 Military Service Members.

What is DMAA?

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 Military 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 Military Service Members and is included on the OPSS list of dietary supplement “ingredients” prohibited by the Department of Defense.

How can I tell if my product contains DMAA?

DMAA goes by many names, but it’s often listed on the Supplement Facts panel of a product label as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, methylhexanamine, or geranium. 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.

Posted 25 June 2018

References

Archer, J. R. H., Dargan, P. I., Lostia, A. M., van der Walt, J., Henderson, K., Drake, N., . . . Kicman, A. T. (2015). Running an unknown risk: A marathon death associated with the use of 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Drug Testing and Analysis, 7(5), 433–438. doi:10.1002/dta.1764

Austin, K. G., Travis, J., Pace, G., & Lieberman, H. R. (2014). Analysis of 1,3 dimethylamylamine concentrations in Geraniaceae, geranium oil and dietary supplements. Drug Testing and Analysis, 6(7-8), 797–804. doi:10.1002/dta.1491

Bloomer, R. J., Harvey, I. C., Farney, T. M., Bell, Z. W., & Canale, R. E. (2015). Effects of 1,3-dimethylamylamine and caffeine alone or in combination on heart rate and blood pressure in healthy men and women. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 39(3), 111–120. doi:10.3810/psm.2011.09.1927

Brown, J. A., & Buckley, N. A. (2013). Toxicity from bodybuilding supplements and recreational use of products containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine. Medical Journal of Australia, 198(8), 414–415. doi:10.5694/mja12.11167

Cohen, P. A., Travis, J. C., Keizers, P. H. J., Deuster, P., & Venhuis, B. J. (2017). Four experimental stimulants found in sports and weight loss supplements: 2-amino-6-methylheptane (octodrine), 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA), 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA) and 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA). Clinical Toxicology, 56(6), 421–426. doi:10.1080/15563650.2017.1398328

Di Lorenzo, C., Moro, E., Dos Santos, A., Uberti, F., & Restani, P. (2013). Could 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in food supplements have a natural origin? Drug Testing and Analysis, 5(2), 116–121. doi:10.1002/dta.1391

Eliason, M. J., Eichner, A., Cancio, A., Bestervelt, L., Adams, B. D., & Deuster, P. A. (2012). Case reports: Death of active duty soldiers following ingestion of dietary supplements containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Military Medicine, 177(12), 1455–1459. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-12-00265

Gregory, P. J. (2013). Availability of DMAA supplements despite US Food and Drug Administration action. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173(2), 164–165. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.724

Kerpel dos Santos, M., Walber, G. B., Kreutz, T., Soares, K., Jacobi Danielli, L., Mariotti, K. d. C., . . . Pereira Limberger, R. (2019). Evaluation of the presence of 1,3-dimethylamylamine in pelargonium leaves and essential oils by mass spectrometric and chromatographic methods. Chromatographia. doi:10.1007/s10337-019-03715-y

Smith, T. B., Staub, B. A., Natarajan, G. M., Lasorda, D. M., & Poornima, I. G. (2014). Acute myocardial infarction associated with dietary supplements containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine and Citrus aurantium. Texas Heart Institute Journal, 41(1), 70–72. doi:10.14503/thij-12-2870

Vorce, S. P., Holler, J. M., Cawrse, B. M., & Magluilo, J. (2011). Dimethylamylamine: A drug causing positive immunoassay results for amphetamines. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 35(3), 183–187. doi:10.1093/anatox/35.3.183