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DOD ban on DMAA

13 Jul 2012 | LCpl. Ali Azimi

The Department of Defense has put a ban on all products containing DMAA. These products, formerly sold on base at GNC stores, were pulled off shelves at the beginning of this year. Service members are prohibited from using the supplements pending further testing on their health effects.


DMAA, written as 1, 3-dimethylamylamine or geranium extract in the ingredients list, is found in many of the popular energy and weight loss supplements such as Jack3d or OxyElite Pro.

These pre-workout and thermogenic supplements increase metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and the body’s heat production. DMAA is mixed in with other ingredients, predominantly caffeine, to energize users, help burn more calories, increase strength and build more muscle during a workout.

However, there are many other products like these on the shelves that provide much of the same results, but do not include DMAA.

The primary concern when considering products containing DMAA is the compound's potentially negative effects on the body.

The DOD’s ban on these products started with the death of two U.S. Army soldiers who were using products containing DMAA. This was followed by more soldiers and two Marines passing out during physical training, all of whom were found to be using dietary supplements containing DMAA.

As more months passed, more incidents involving service members with cases of heat illness and liver or kidney failures, all possibly linked to DMAA usage, were reported.

There have also been more sudden death cases reported involving DMAA users.

Companies selling DMAA-infused products argue that it is not their products at fault, but rather the misuse of their products. Some service members have admitted they take more than the recommended dose advertised by the product.

However, testing is still inconclusive on whether or not these supplements, even used as directed, are the root causes of these heath issues.

Another aspect to ingesting DMAA that service members need to consider is products containing the compound have been known to cause false positives for methamphetamine use on drug tests. Though military officials also said follow-up testing can prevent the false positives from incriminating service members.

For service members still looking for that added boost to their workout regimen, products currently sold at the MCX and from the on-base GNC shelves are still deemed safe for use and are not on any DOD-banned lists.

Editor’s Note: Although the products have been pulled from on-base GNC and Exchange shelves, they are still legal in the civilian world, and may still be sold at off-base GNC stores. They will continue to be banned by the DOD until further testing either definitively confirms or disproves the negative effects of products containing DMAA. The ban is simply precautionary as scientists continue to evaluate the connection between any health problems with supplements containing DMAA.

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