November 2018

What is Higenamine?

Higenamine is showing up in a lot of pre-workout and weight loss supplements, including Thermogenesis Extreme and Monster Shred. Sometimes it's included on the product label, sometimes it's "disguised" under a less known synonym such as norcoclaurine and demethylcoclaurine, and sometimes it's not listed at all. This can be concerning for athletes, since it’s currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List 

So what is it? Higename is a chemical that works as a stimulant and seems to increase heart contractions and heart rate. It’s found in several plants, including aconite. Aconite has been shown to cause serious heart-related side effects including arrhythmias and even death, possibly related to the higenamine content.

Tell patients to be cautious even if a small amount of higenamine is listed in a product. One recent study tested 24 different products listing higenamine on the label. None of the products listed an accurate amount of higenamine. Quantities ranged from undetectable amounts to about 62 mg per serving, which was 0% to 200% of what was actually listed on the label.

For more details, check out our recently updated monograph.

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