DMAA (1 3 Dimethylamylamine) is a popular pre-workout and weight loss supplement due to its effect on your central nervous system. Is this supplement safe and legal to use? And what DMAA side effects do you have to be aware of? Find out in this DMAA review.
DMAA (1-3 Dimethylamylamine) Usage in Pre-Workout Supplements
When it comes to notorious pre workout, weight loss, and energy supplements, few ingredients have the reputation of DMAA. Categorized as a derivative of amphetamine, DMAA (1-3 dimethylamylamine) has a chemical structure and list of effects that produces a similar effect on the body as adrenaline, a stress response hormone and ephedrine, a central nervous system stimulant.
Let’s answer the question of “what is DMAA?” as well as explore why DMAA pre-workouts were so popular and the dangers presented by the compound.
DMAA can also be found on product packaging under one of the following names:
- 2-Hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI)
Although the acronym is very similar, it is important not to confuse DMAA with DMAE, which is a popular nootropic and anti-aging ingredient because it is able to increase the metabolization of beta-amyloid, a pro-aging compound.
According to the Food and Drug Administration website, in the United States of America, DMAA is not a legal substance to be used for dietary products or prescription medication. While it was once a popular nasal decongestant, much like DMHA, it has been banned by the FDA for all uses.
The FDA has taken action to ensure DMAA-based products have been pulled from store shelves and online marketing: the organization contacted businesses promoting DMAA products, requesting that they discontinue them. While most companies did cooperate, those that did not were administratively detained.
The most famous examples of DMAA-based products being pulled by the FDA were OxyElite Pro and Jack3d from the brand USPLabs. This happened after the company refused to voluntarily comply with FDA orders.
Despite this ban, there is a chance that you may come across supplements and medications that contain DMAA, especially if you’re shopping online or in other countries. The FDA warns against buying and using any products that contain the compound due to DMAA side effects, which include chest tightness, shortness of breath, anxiety, and heart attack.
DMAA (1 3 dimethylamylamine) is considered a vasodilator and central nervous system stimulant. This means that is will constrict blood vessels and arteries, which can be dangerous for anyone with previous cardiovascular health issues including blood pressure problems.
As a nervous system stimulant, DMAA promotes the release of fight-or-flight hormones, adrenaline, while simultaneously activating the brain’s reward and pleasure center much like dopamine would.
Given the rise in blood pressure and stress-response hormones, this sets the stage for potential issues with neurological and psychological side effects.
- Unsafe Spikes in Blood Pressure: Studies show that as a central nervous system stimulant, DMAA can quickly increase your heart rate and blood pressure. While this may not be a concern for some, if you have prior cardiovascular issues, supplementing with DMAA could result in hospitalization due to unsafe spikes in blood pressure and heart rate. Some experts warn that this could trigger more serious complications such as a heart attack.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Studies show that users of DMAA frequently report feeling nausea that causes them to vomit. This could be a combination of its effect on your central nervous system paired with it being fairly harsh on the stomach. This effect was reported to be especially bad when DMAA is taken on an empty stomach.
- False Positive Result: Amphetamines have long been banned from athletic organizations as they are considered a performance-enhancing drug. DMAA can cause a false positive for amphetamines. Users of DMAA can be banned or suspended because of a false positive, even if they’ve never consumed a banned substance.
- Liver Health: The liver is the filtration center of the body. It helps to remove harmful compounds found in the environment and diet. Studies found that DMAA had a hepatotoxic effect, which means that it was harmful to the liver. Out of the people who were hospitalized in the study, some needed a liver transplant while another person died.
- Mental Health: DMAA pushes you into a fight-or-flight mode with the release of adrenaline, which may cause elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and unstable mood swings. Consistent use of DMAA may exacerbate prior mental health issues such as depression.
Before it became a banned substance, DMAA powder pre-workouts were a favorite due to their effect on energy and performance. Here are the most popular reasons why DMAA was used in pre workout supplements.
- Energy Booster: Studies show that DMAA-based supplements can increase energy levels by stimulating the central nervous system, promoting the increase in blood pressure and releasing adrenaline. One of the primary reasons that DMAA was used in so many pre-workout supplements is that it has been shown to boost energy levels and support workout performance (as we’ll see below).
- Weight Loss: One study found that a DMAA supplement was able to promote fat oxidation and weight loss over the course of an eight-week trial. Aside from having a direct impact on burning fat, DMAA can increase energy levels, thereby supporting caloric expenditure.
- Nootropic: For students, DMAA was a popular nootropic or brain-boosting supplement. Studies show that when subjects took the DMAA-based supplement 30 minutes before a test, it resulted in improved memory, visual processing speed, and reaction time. However, researchers made a note that the improvement was average and not above and beyond. For example, supplementing with caffeine would produce the same response.
- Athletic Performance: An animal-based study with a DMAA supplement found that the physical performance of the subjects significantly improved. Rats given the supplement were shown to improve in running distance and overall running time.
The majority of products that contain DMAA are dietary supplements specifically for weight loss and pre-workout energy. Here are a few famous examples:
- USP Labs: Oxy Elite Pro and Jack3D
- Fahrenheit Nutrition: Lean Efx
- SEI Pharmaceuticals: MethylHex 4,2
- Nutrex Research: Hemo Rage Black, Lipo-6 Black Ultra Concentrate, Lipo-6 Black, Lipo-6 Black Hers Ultra Concentrate, and Lipo-6 Black Hers
- Line One Nutrition: Fat Burning Lean Pills
To see the full list of companies that were sent a cease and desist letter, click here.
If you are a former DMAA user and you’re looking for something comparable without the side effects, or you are looking for a proven and safe energy booster to start with, here are a few options to consider:
- Caffeine: A staple of pre workout supplements, caffeine can produce similar effects to DMAA as far as energy boosting, increased nootropic effects, and performance enhancement.
- Synephrine: More commonly referred to as bitter orange extract, synephrine is a popular weight loss ingredient that has been shown in several studies to promote fat loss, calorie expenditure, and weight management.
- Hordenine: Structurally similar to synephrine, hordenine is another compound that is often found in both weight loss and performance-enhancement supplements.
A central nervous system stimulant, DMAA (1-3 Dimethylamylamine) is a banned ingredient that can no longer be used in dietary supplements or prescription medications. That hasn’t stopped some companies from offering it under the guise of different names. While you may want a supplement that skyrockets your energy levels and supports athletic performance, you should not look towards DMAA.
Given its shady supplement reputation, long list of side effects, and banned status by the FDA, this is one ingredient that is more trouble than it’s worth.