Federal health officials are warning consumers that a popular stimulant found in some sports performance drinks and other dietary supplements may cause heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
The FDA is currently attempting to completely remove dimethylamyalmine (DMAA) from the market, and the agency issued a consumer warning on April 11, reporting that it has received at least 60 reports of illnesses and deaths associated with the ingredient.
DMAA is typically added to weight loss and muscle-building supplements, but the FDA says that the substance is too dangerous to be placed in dietary supplements.
It is illegal to use DMAA in dietary supplements, the FDA warns. The additive can cause elevated blood pressure, heart attack, shortness of breath, and tightening of the chest. DMAA side effects can be even more dangerous when it is taken with caffeine the agency reports.
The consumer warning comes about a year after the FDA sent warning letters to ten companies that added DMAA to dietary supplements, ordering them to stop selling those products, all of which were sports performance drinks. All but one, USP Labs, LLC, has complied.
USP Labs has responded to the FDA letters by submitting published studies challenging the FDA’s determinations about the risks of DMAA. However, the FDA says it found the information USP provided to be insufficient to justify the use of DMAA. The agency is now preparing a formal response to the company.
As the FDA works to get DMAA off the market, it is warning consumers not to use products containing the additive, and warns that companies used a variety of names for DMAA, including:
- 4-methyl- (9CI)
The presence of Pelargonium graveolens extract or Geranium extract are also potential indicators that a product contains DMAA, the FDA warns.