DMHA (also known as octodrine, dimethylhexylamine, and other names) is a central nervous system stimulant developed in the 1950s for use as an inhalant to treat bronchitis, laryngitis, and other conditions. It was never approved for oral use, but in recent years, it has shown up as an ingredient in dietary supplements.
DMHA is on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances.
DMHA is used most often in pre-workout, weight-loss, and “fat burner” (thermogenic) dietary supplement products because of its supposed benefits to suppress appetite and enhance energy. It has also been claimed to enhance focus, memory, and attention; increase pain threshold; and decrease rates of perceived exertion. Websites sometimes market DMHA as a “safe alternative” to other high-risk ingredients such as DMAA and ephedrine.
Why is DMHA banned as an ingredient in dietary supplements?
According to FDA, DMHA is a new dietary ingredient lacking evidence for safe use, and therefore “…dietary supplements containing DMHA would be adulterated for containing an unsafe food additive.” This means DMHA should not be used as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Because of this, DMHA is on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited ingredients.
Some marketing claims have represented DMHA as a “natural” extract of aconite (including Aconitum kusnezoffii), Juglans regia, or Kigelia africana. If a plant-based ingredient on a label includes a statement that it provides DMHA, then it is not approved for use in dietary supplements, and the product carrying the label is adulterated.
Can DMHA negatively affect my health and performance?
The bottom line is: There hasn’t been enough research on DMHA to determine if it’s safe or effective, especially in humans. The latest research from animal studies suggests DMHA might cause adverse cardiovascular (related to the heart or blood vessels) effects. In addition, the same concerns associated with other stimulants apply to DMHA.
Why should consumers be cautious, especially those in the military?
Despite its FDA status, DMHA is still present as an ingredient in some dietary supplements, so be sure to look carefully at the Supplement Facts label of any product you’re considering. DMHA goes by many names, including:
- 2-heptylamine, 6-methyl-
- 2-isooctyl amine
DMHA might register on an initial urine screening test for amphetamines or opioids. If this happens, the specimen then goes to confirmation analysis. DMHA will not cause a positive result on confirmation drug tests.
Without laboratory testing it is impossible to know exactly what is in your dietary supplement product. One way to help make a safer choice is to look for products with third-party certification seals from organizations such as BSCG, USP, NSF, or Informed Sport.
Updated 23 April 2021