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May 2021

Stimulants in Weight Loss, Sports Supplements

New research shows that some stimulants found in weight loss and sports supplements have never been tested in humans. Here’s what you and your patients should know.

In a new study, 17 sports and weight loss supplements listing deterenol (isopropylnorsynephrine) on the product label were analyzed. Deterenol is a stimulant. It’s not approved for use in humans in the US, but it’s still found in many dietary supplements. The 17 products were tested to determine if additional stimulants were also present.

A total of 9 different stimulants were found in the tested products – deterenol, phenpromethaminebeta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), dimethylhexylamine (DMHA), methylsynephrinehigenamine1,3-DMAA1,3-DMBA, and 1,4-DMAA. Eight of the tested products contained at least two of these stimulants, and two of the products contained a combination of 4 different stimulants. None of these stimulants have been tested for safety in humans.

Make sure your patients understand that weight loss and sports supplements are a particularly risky product category. Advise them to avoid multi-ingredient products in this category entirely, particularly those that list deterenol (isopropylnorsynephrine). Explain that many of these products contain ingredients that have never been tested in humans, and they might be putting themselves at risk for serious adverse effects.

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