What is DMAA
DMAA, otherwise known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, is an amphetamine. It is most commonly manufactured in China as a raw material and imported into the United States in powder form. Years ago, corporations started using DMAA powder in dietary supplements called pre-workouts. Because of its powerful stimulatory effect, it quickly rose to popularity in the sports nutrition industry. Many companies claimed that DMAA was a dietary ingredient and could be used mainly for pre-workout supplementation to increase performance and workout intensity. However, the FDA disagreed and subsequently declared the use of DMAA as a dietary supplement illegal. DMAA ended up on the radar of the FDA because of the side effects associated with its use. The most prevalent was the death of a military soldier that used a supplement containing DMAA. The military was quick to ban the use of DMAA because of its popularity amongst its soldiers.
UPDATE: Feb 17th, 2020. As of this date, I have only found one product that has actual DMAA in it, which is Dark Energy from Magnitude Life Sciences. One can purchase it on eBay.
Shortly after, this resulted in numerous supplement companies receiving warning letters from the FDA informing them to discontinue the distribution of DMAA containing products. The supplement companies that did not comply were raided federal marshalls and had their supplements seized. To this day, the sale of DMAA as a dietary supplement ingredient is illegal. However, one company called Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is challenging the FDA’s position in Court. As of August 20th, 2019, the Courts ruled that DMAA is not a dietary supplement. But Hi-Tech is appealing this ruling. However, one can still buy DMAA powder over the internet fairly easily. This article will investigate some of those DMAA products that are available to purchase. Keep in mind that if one does consume DMAA, they are at risk. As small as it may be, the risk of severe side effects is present. Here are the side effects of DMAA consumption.
DMAA Side Effects
Without question, DMAA is a powerful amphetamine. According to the FDA, DMAA is not natural. Many scholarly professors also declare DMAA a pharmaceutical. DMAA can cause shaking, nervousness, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and even heart attack. DMAA does this by shrinking the blood vessels, which makes the heart have to work harder and faster. The bottom line is that DMAA can raise one’s blood pressure dramatically. When this happens, serious side effects can occur. DMAA is commonly combined with other stimulants like caffeine and green tea extract. The combination of these compounds and their resulting effects are unknown. This is a major concern, and all users of DMAA should be aware of this possible, very dangerous combination of stimulants.
If one is looking to buy DMAA, it must be purchased from a small business. Large cooperations like GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, and Bodybuilding.com do not carry DMAA products. A simple Google search of “buy DMAA” results in numerous places to purchase this product. Some are disguised as research products and make no mention of dietary supplements. This is merely an attempt by the seller to circumnavigate the FDA’s ruling that DMAA should not be sold for consumption. Other online websites to buy DMAA sell the product as a pre-workout and dietary supplement. Needless to say, these online companies are asking to be notified by the FDA that they need to discontinue the product.
Surprisingly eBay lists DMAA powders for sale. One product called Dark Energy by Magnitude Life Sciences is available on eBay. Taking a closer look at the label, they have on the front panel “research product,” and do not list “dietary supplement” on the front. The product also states, “not for human consumption” on the back.
How DMAA Gets Manufactured
One might wonder how DMAA powders like Dark Energy Pre Workout Supplements get manufactured. No contract packager in their right mind would risk losing their business because they decided to package a product that the FDA has declared illegal to sell as a dietary supplement. Therefore one can conclude that a product like Dark Energy is made by Dark Energy themselves.
I have been in the business of supplements and food manufacturing for about 20 years. I have a very; good understanding of how products are made. A product like Dark Energy is not difficult to produce. The process goes something like this.
The company purchases raw materials. Most likely, the DMAA that is being sold in the United States is purchased from China. The Chinese have no problem selling DMAA powder and liquid to U.S. companies. A simple Alibaba search will find hundreds of Chinese companies selling DMAA. The problem with buying product from China is the quality. Chinese companies are notorious for selling counterfeit and bogus products. The U.S. company buying the DMAA has no idea that the DMAA is legitimate or not until they actually conduct their own laboratory analysis. Most of the time, the Chinese will make synthetic ingredients, like vitamins and herbs. Therefore it would not surprise me if they were making synthetic DMAA.
Next, the DMAA must sneak through U.S. Customs. U.S. Customs would not allow DMAA powder or liquid to enter the United States. Therefore the DMAA is “smuggled” through the port of entry. Usually, the DMAA will be labeled as something else like a factory polymer or a liquid cleaner.
After the DMAA is smuggled through customs, the purchaser can assemble their product. Since most legitimate contract packagers will handle the material, the company will package the DMAA powder at their residence or warehouse.
Technically, the DMAA powder should be tested for identity, purity, and strength BEFORE it is packaged. Then after packaging, the product should be tested again for microbials and once more for strength.
I would bet the farm that these small companies that are importing DMAA from China have not conducted these tests.
If I wanted to consume DMAA, I would look for a company that conducted a 3rd party lab analysis on their product.
In conclusion, buying and using DMAA is not a very smart idea. I think the risk to reward ratio is not very appealing. If one needs an amphetamine to workout, then there is a more general problem. For example, you are not getting enough nutrients, consuming too much coffee and energy drinks, not getting enough sleep, low testosterone, or maybe depression. Instead of using DMAA, I would recommend using something like Tectanic Red or Zynamite. These are much better alternatives than an amphetamine.
Frequently Asked Questions About DMAA Powder
Is DMAA a safe pre-workout supplement?
In my opinion NO. I can think of 1,000 other products I would use before DMAA. The reward to risk-benefit is not very appealing.
Can DMAA cause a heart attack?
I believe that any amphetamine can cause a heart attack. There may not be direct evidence or research, but I would not risk it.
Will DMAA be banned in the future?
It is already banned from use in dietary supplements by the FDA. I do not think Congress will pass any LAW on DMAA regarding its possession.
What is the best DMAA pre-workout?
There is not a BEST per se’ because if any pre-workout supplement does indeed contain DMAA it is doing so in the black market as the FDA does not allow its use in dietary supplements as I stated previously in this article.
Is DMAA illegal?
Depends. To purchase it as a consumer no. If you’re a supplement company and use it in your supplement yes. This why the supplement companies take advantage of DMAA not being illegal to sell it. The profit margin tends to be higher as well.
Does DMAA burn fat?
The short answer is yes. Being an amphetamine DMAA will increase the body’s ability to utilized fat for energy. Not only that but it decrease one’s appetite.
Can I combine DMAA with caffeine?
I would recommend you do not combine these two. DMAA is powerful enough of a stimulant.