University of Texas at Arlington professor is adding new evidence to the debate
over DMAA, a popular sports supplement that has been embroiled in controversy
involving professional athletes and even the U.S. Army.
W. Armstrong, who holds the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry at UT Arlington,
investigated whether 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in
numerous supplements came from natural or synthetic sources. Armstrong’s team
found that it is unlikely the DMAA in supplements comes from the geranium plant
or its extracted oil, as companies have sometimes claimed.
is the corresponding author on a paper titled “1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in supplements
and geranium products: natural or synthetic?” It is currently online in the journal
Drug Testing and Analysis (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dta.1368/abstract).
Co-authors are Ying Zhang, Zachary Breitbach and Ross M. Woods, a former and
current graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UT
also known as 1-3 dimethylpentylamine or methylhexaneamine, is not regulated as
a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because supplement
manufacturers claimed it was a natural component of the geranium plant.
However, the agency sent letters in April to 10 companies that manufactured and
distributed dietary supplements containing DMAA, warning them about marketing
products for which evidence of safety has not been submitted. The letters
informed the companies that synthetic DMAA is not a “dietary ingredient” and,
therefore, is ineligible for use as an active ingredient in a dietary
supplement, according to an FDA press release.
have responded by removing DMAA from their products or insisting that the
stimulant is natural and safe, according to media reports.
known to narrow blood vessels and arteries, which can elevate blood pressure and
may lead to shortness of breath and even heart attack, according to the FDA.
The FDA says it has received 42 adverse event reports on products containing
said that in supplements with significant amounts of synthetic pharmacological
compounds added “information should be clearly labeled, including their effects
and possible side effects, so that consumers can make an informed choice.”
World Anti-Doping Agency added DMAA to its list of prohibited substances as
worries about its effects have surfaced in the past few years. Late last year,
the U.S. Army pulled supplements with DMAA from all of its on-base stores after
two soldiers’ deaths were linked to supplement use. Several lawsuits concerning
companies’ claims about DMAA origins and status as a “dietary supplement” have
also been filed.
research team used chiral gas chromatography, which utilizes special columns
that he invented, to analyze 13 different supplements that listed either DMAA
or geranium extract as ingredients. They found that the DMAA extracted from the
supplements had the same stereoisomeric ratios – a characteristic of their
chemical makeup - as synthetic DMAA.
groups also used High Performance Liquid Chromatography to test eight different
geranium oils with origins from China to the Middle East. They found no
detectable DMAA in any of them. Clearly, natural sources cannot account for the
DMAA in the supplements, the paper said.
Armstrong and his team are contributing useful information to the public debate
over DMAA. This is the kind of valuable research the public expects from its
university campuses," said Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College
and his coauthors presented their findings on DMAA in June at the 24th
International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination in Fort Worth. Armstrong and
Kevin Schug, UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry,
organized that event.
Armstrong’s work is
representative of the science going on at The University of Texas at Arlington,
a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,500 students in the heart of
North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.