Get The Facts
By Ty O'Dell
Its all a lie
Are you looking for the energy you need "to move the big-boy weights”? How about a pill that gives you “laser-like focus”? Or one that implements “the newest in fat-burning technology”? If you recently picked up a supplement that makes those claims, beware. You could be getting a big dose of a dangerous stimulant, DMBA, without knowing it.
A new study out today in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis finds that at least a dozen readily available supplements contain DMBA, which has never before been detected in supplements and has never been tested in humans.
DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine) is chemically similar to DMAA, which was recently banned by the Food and Drug Administration after being linked to heart failure, strokes, and sudden cardiac death. But that hasn’t stopped supplement makers from putting DMBA in products with enticing names, such as Redline White Heat, MD2 Meltdown, and AMPilean, and selling it in stores such as GNC and online at Amazon.
“Teens are taking these for better workouts in the gym,” Pieter Cohen, M.D., a Harvard University researcher and lead author of the study, said. “Maybe they’re looking to make the soccer team. They go to a place like GNC and they’re buying what they think is safe. These products are sometimes mixed with water and sold in different flavors like watermelon—that’s how benignly they are being marketed.”
And young men are taking notice. One worrying YouTube video features a supplement enthusiast boasting about how Redline White Heat boosted his workout. "Every single time I've taken it," he says, "I hit the gym for two straight hours. It just gives you the feeling that you want to keep hammering and hammering and hammering and you're never going to get tired." Even he seems aware that the product may not be safe, saying: "The FDA is probably going to pull it off the market within a year. It's that strong."
But what those young athletes are consuming are significant doses of an experimental and dangerous drug, says Cohen, who is also an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance. DMBA can cause adverse health effects, such as a feeling of rushing or difficulty standing still. According to the label of Redline White Heat, a consumer also would be getting the caffeine equivalent of more than three cups of coffee.