Quick DMAA Summary Points
- DMAA, also known as 1,3 dimethylamylamine, is a synthetic compound used as a stimulant.
- Initially introduced as a nasal decongestant, its use later transitioned to dietary supplements.
- Contrary to some claims, DMAA is synthetic and not naturally derived from the geranium plant.
- It was popular in pre-workouts and fat burners for its stimulant effects & thermogenic properties.
- Benefits for bodybuilding include increased focus, energy, performance, & fat burning.
- DMAA's potential fat loss benefits include appetite suppression & enhanced fat oxidation.
- DMAA is associated with various side effects, including cardiovascular issues, CNS stimulation, & sleep disturbances.
- From 2012, DMAA saw major bans, including in the U.S. military.
- Australia listed DMAA as a Schedule 10 substance, making its sale, supply, & use prohibited.
- The FDA deems DMAA illegal for sale as a dietary ingredient in the U.S.
- DMAA is banned in sports, as noted by its inclusion in WADA's Prohibited List.
- Recommended doses were between 25-75 mg, & it was advised to be taken 20-30 minutes before exercise.
- Several supplements once contained DMAA, such as USPlabs Jack3d & Nutrex Hemorage Black.
- Safer alternatives to DMAA include caffeine, L-Theanine, Teacrine®, & Beta-Alanine.
- Always consult with professionals & check the legal status before considering DMAA or a similar type of ingredient.
- This article is for informational purposes only.
What is DMAA?
DMAA (short for 1,3 dimethylamylamine) is a compound with many names. It is also known as 1,3 dimethylpentlamine, 1,3 dimeth, methylhexaneamine, Geranamine, and geranium oil or extract. DMAA is an effective stimulant and was a popular ingredient in supplements like pre-workouts & thermogenic fat burners.
Where Does DMAA Come From?
DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a synthetic compound. However, some early marketers of dietary supplements containing DMAA have claimed it is derived from natural sources, such as the geranium plant (Pelargonium graveolens). Traditionally, this plant has been valuable in the perfume industry for its pleasant range of smells.
Nonetheless, scientific studies (Pieter, 2012) have largely refuted this claim, indicating that the DMAA found in dietary supplements is of synthetic origin. The initial introduction of DMAA was as a synthetic pharmaceutical for nasal decongestion.
DMAA is an effective central nervous system stimulant and consequently was used as a pre-workout and a thermogenic supplement ingredient.
DMAA Benefits for Bodybuilding
DMAA has been popular among bodybuilders for several purported benefits:
- Stimulant Effects: DMAA acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness & giving a boost in energy, which can be beneficial for intense workouts.
- Increased Focus: Users have reported enhanced concentration during workouts, which can help in maintaining effective training sessions.
- Fat Loss: DMAA has thermogenic properties, meaning it can increase metabolism and promote fat burning, assisting in weight loss or cutting phases.
- Enhanced Performance: Some users believe that DMAA can increase endurance and reduce perceived effort, allowing them to train harder and longer.
- Vasoconstriction: Unlike other pre-workout ingredients which are vasodilators, DMAA causes vasoconstriction. While this might not be a direct 'benefit', it can lead to a feeling of increased intensity for some users.
DMAA Benefits for Fat Loss
DMAA has been touted for its potential benefits in promoting fat loss. Here are the reasons why it was sought after for this purpose:
- Thermogenesis: DMAA can increase the body's metabolic rate, leading to an increase in energy expenditure. This thermogenic effect can aid in burning more calories &, subsequently, fat.
- Appetite Suppression: Some users have reported that DMAA can reduce appetite, leading to decreased calorie intake. This can be beneficial for those looking to create a calorie deficit for weight loss.
- Increased Energy: As a stimulant, DMAA boosts energy levels, which can be helpful for individuals to maintain or increase their exercise intensity & duration, leading to more calories burned.
- Enhanced Fat Oxidation: There's some evidence to suggest that DMAA might increase the rate at which the body utilizes fat for energy, especially during exercise.
DMAA Negative Effects and Side Effects
DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) has been associated with several negative effects and side effects. Some of these side effects include:
- Cardiovascular Issues: DMAA can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, & arrhythmias.
- CNS Stimulation: Overstimulation of the central nervous system can lead to symptoms like jitteriness, anxiety, & nervousness.
- Sleep Disturbances: Due to its stimulant properties, DMAA can cause insomnia or poor quality sleep if taken later in the day.
- Shortness of Breath: Some users have reported feeling short of breath or experiencing tightness in the chest after consuming DMAA.
- Risk of Dependency: While not common, there's potential for dependency or abuse due to its stimulant nature.
- Headaches and Dizziness: Some users have reported experiencing headaches or dizziness after taking DMAA.
- Nausea & Upset Stomach: DMAA can cause gastrointestinal distress in some individuals.
- Mood Changes: Irritability, mood swings, & even depression have been reported by some users.
- Vasoconstriction: DMAA can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels, which can further contribute to the risk of cardiovascular issues.
- Elevated Body Temperature: There's potential for DMAA to cause hyperthermia, especially when combined with vigorous exercise.
DMAA Legal Status
- The first major ban on DMAA was carried out by the US military in mid-2012, but it was stated that such a ban was merely precautionary, and there was no evidence to suggest that DMAA caused harmful effects.
- As of August 8th 2012, DMAA and DMAA-containing supplements in Australia were banned for import, supply & private use. This followed in the footsteps of other countries including New Zealand and Canada.
- DMAA as of June 2012, was no longer being used as an ingredient by United States supplement manufacturers (after the issue of an FDA warning letter). Thus DMAA was withdrawn from the shelves of retailers and was mostly unavailable after 2012.
- DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is classified as a prohibited substance in Australia. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia has listed DMAA as a Schedule 10 substance under the Poisons Standard. A Schedule 10 classification means that the substance is of such danger to health as to warrant prohibition of sale, supply, & use.
- In the United States DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is considered illegal to be sold as a dietary supplement. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that DMAA is not a dietary ingredient & thus, products containing DMAA are not allowed to be marketed as dietary supplements.
- DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is banned for use in sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It is listed on WADA's Prohibited List, which means that athletes who test positive for DMAA in doping controls can face sanctions.
Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
Historically, when DMAA was more commonly found in dietary supplements, dosages ranged from 25 mg to 75 mg per serving, depending on the product and its intended use. Some pre-workout or fat-burning supplements might have recommended starting with half a serving to assess tolerance before moving to a full serving.
In terms of timing, many users took DMAA-containing products 20-30 minutes before exercise due to its stimulant effects. However, considering its potential to disrupt sleep, it was generally not recommended to consume DMAA in the evening or close to bedtime.
DMAA was a common ingredient in certain pre-workout supplements & some thermogenic fat burners. Following is a sample list of supplements that previously contained the ingredient DMAA, all of which today have ceased including the ingredient DMAA in their brand formulations:
- USPlabs Jack3d
- USPlabs Oxy Elite Pro
- MRI Black
- Nutrex Hemorage Black
- Nutrex Lipo-6 Black
- Isotori PWR
- Musclemeds Code Red
- Muscle Warfare Napalm
- Farenheit Lean Efx
If you've been on the hunt for some safer alternatives to DMAA, you're in luck. There are a bunch of effective options out there that can give you that edge you're seeking, without the risks associated with DMAA:
- Caffeine: Good old caffeine – we all know it and love it.
- L-Theanine: Ever wondered why tea is calming? L-Theanine is the reason. Pair it with caffeine, and you've got a balanced energy boost without the jitters.
- Teacrine®: Think of it as caffeine's cousin. It wakes you up, but without that crash later on.
- Beta-Alanine: Not exactly a pick-me-up, but if you're looking to push through that last set at the gym, this is your buddy.
- Citrulline Malate: This one's all about getting that pumped feeling during workouts. It's like giving your muscles a VIP pass to more blood flow.
- Taurine: Beyond being in energy drinks, taurine actually has some great benefits for energy & overall health.
- B Vitamins: Think of these as your body's little energy production factories. They keep things running smoothly.
- Rhodiola Rosea: A natural herb that's like a chill pill for the body. Helps you handle stress and stay sharp.
- Capsaicin: You know that fiery feeling when you eat chilli peppers? That's capsaicin. It can also fire up your metabolism.
- Huperzine A: Brain fog? Huperzine A to the rescue. It helps with focus, especially when you're trying to zone into your workout.
DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine) has stirred a great deal of attention for its stimulant properties, especially among bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts. However, its controversial origins, the numerous side effects, & subsequent legal restrictions emphasise the importance of understanding what we put into our bodies.
As the fitness industry continues to evolve, it's paramount to stay informed & make decisions that prioritise health & safety.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not endorse or promote the use of DMAA or any illegal substances. Always consult with healthcare professionals & check the legal status of substances in your country before considering any supplement or compound.
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Bloomer et al (2011b), Effect of Caffeine and 1,3-Dimethylamylamine on Exercise Performance and Blood Markers of Lipolysis and Oxidative Stress in Trained Men and Women. Journal of Caffeine Research, 1: 169-177
Farney et al (2012a), Hemodynamic and Hematologic Profile of Healthy Adults Ingesting Dietary supplements containing 1,3-Dimethylamylamine and Caffeine. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights 5: 1-12
Gee et al (2010), Another bitter pill: a case of toxicity from DMAA party pills. Journal of New Zealand Medical Association, 123 (online)
McCarthy et al (2012a), Biochemical and Anthropometric effects of a Weight Loss Dietary supplement in Healthy Men and Women. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 5: 13–22
McCarthy et al (2012b), A Finished Dietary Supplement Stimulates Lipolysis and Metabolic Rate in Young Men and Women. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 5: 23–31
Loenneke et al (2012), The anabolic benefits of venous blood flow restriction training may be induced by muscle cell swelling. Medical Hypotheses, 78: 151–154
Pieter (2012), DMAA as a Dietary Supplement Ingredient. Arch Intern Med, 1-2: (online)