June 2013

Federal Authorities Seize DMAA Supplements from GNC Warehouses

Controversial supplements containing a stimulant called dimethylamylamine (DMAA) have been seized from GNC warehouses in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, the New York Times (NYT) reports.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), DMAA is a form of amphetamine that has been widely used in athletic supplements sold in the United States. The stimulant is often promoted as a "natural" stimulant. Claims have been made that DMAA may have body-building, athletic performance-enhancing, and weight loss benefits. Although DMAA was approved at one time as a nasal decongestion treatment, no medical use of the stimulant is recognized today.

The FDA states that reliable science supporting the natural existence of DMAA in plants is lacking. Furthermore, the agency emphasizes that supplements containing DMAA are illegal.

There are significant safety concerns associated with the use of DMAA-containing products. The FDA has advised consumers not to purchase or use any supplement containing the stimulant, as DMAA is known to increase blood pressure and cause health problems such as shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythms, tightening in the chest, heart attack, and seizures. The FDA has received 86 reports of side effects involving DMAA-containing products, including psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, nervous system disorders, and death.

The NYT article reports that federal prosecutors have ordered the seizure of over 3,200 cases of DMAA-containing products with names such as Jack3d and OxyElitePro. These products have been removed from GNC warehouses in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania and Anderson, South Carolina, after an FDA inspection earlier this month found that GNC had allegedly been changing the formulas and illegally holding the products.

A GNC spokesperson stated that the company will not distribute products from its Leetsdale warehouse until the FDA issue has been resolved, but that they intend to continue to selling through their remaining product inventories in stores.

The FDA has advised consumers to report any side effects of DMAA to their health care providers, as well as directly to the FDA itself.

For more information about athletic performance enhancement, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 
  2. New York Times.
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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