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DMAA found in Chinese geranium—yawn

A new study from the University of Memphis has detected controversial 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in region- and season-specific samplings of Chinese geranium (Pelargonium graveolens).

DMAA has been subject to wide reporting as a stimulant used in sports nutrition and weight-loss products. Alarm flags were raised after a military review—which revealed that DMAA had been present in the bodies of two U.S. soldiers who died during training—precipitated a removal of all DMAA-containing products from military exchange stores. Since then, a number of European and Oceanic countries have banned the substance, and FDA does not consider it to qualify under the definition of a dietary ingredient.

Leading companies with a stake in the DMAA market have bit back, putting out studies like this one that argue that the ingredient is natural.

Here’s why the new study doesn’t matter:

1. It didn’t matter back in August when Intertek Cantox released a similar study confirming the existence of DMAA in geranium. This line of logic has already been explored. Nutrition Business Journal reported back in February that sources suggested evidence of DMAA’s existence in geranium—perhaps at country- and altitude-specific growing conditions. Either way, the DMAA in dietary supplements is synthetic.

2. Even if specific strains in China produced DMAA at specific times of year, there is not enough to scale production to the extent that exists in the market. “You’d be able to see the geranium fields from space,” Ed Wyszumiala, of NSF International, told NBJ earlier this year.

3. The warning letters are already out. Ten companies received warnings from FDA in April 2012 which asserted that DMAA was not a dietary ingredient, and none of the companies had submitted a new dietary ingredient (NDI) notification. DMAA is a synthetic botanical and FDA does not consider it a dietary ingredient. If you sell DMAA, you’re in the crosshairs.

4. The market doesn’t really want it anymore. Consumers have already opted for more DMAA-free products, which GNC is more than happy to sell. We’ve moved on to the next suite of stimulants, namely dendrobium extract, N-Methyltyramine, and higenamine—the active in USPlabs’ leading DMAA-free preworkout, Jack3d Micro.

It seems that we’ve squeezed more than enough blood from this stone, and yet the news keeps coming.

How much longer will this drama play out? 

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