The US Army pulled dietary supplements containing dimethylamylamine (DMAA) from the military bases while it investigates their role in the deaths of 2 soldiers last year.
According to Fox News, a 22-year-old soldier died last summer after collapsing during a training run at an unnamed military base and in another incident just a few months later, a 32-year-old soldier collapsed during a fitness test. That soldier eventually died a month later, never leaving the hospital after his collapse.
DMAA was discovered during separate autopsies of the soldiers. It is believed DMAA is likely responsible for the untimely deaths. The dietary supplement is designed to help soldiers “meet the strong physical demands” of training sessions with the military, the report indicates. DMAA is a popular dietary supplement among athletes, and is advertised to increase energy, concentration and metabolism.
The US Defense Department has withdrawn all products containing DMAA from American military bases pending the safety probe. However, US consumers can still buy DMAA products at retailers across the country.
Peter J Graves, an army spokesperson, said that DMAA had been identified on toxicology reports carried out on the soldiers. Graves added that other Army personnel who had used products containing DMAA had reported a range of serious conditions including liver and kidney failure, seizures, loss of consciousness and irregular heartbeats.
Of the myriad supplements containing DMAA, the most popular available at the retail level is named JACK3D, manufactured by USP Labs, a Dallas-based manufacturer. The company stands behind its product, believing it is safe and has been used 440 million times by consumers without any reported incidents.
“There have been over one billion doses of DMAA-containing products taken without a single corroborated serious health problem among people who used the products as directed,” said Kerri Toloczko, USPlabs’ spokesperson.
Toloczko added that DMAA is a naturally occurring compound found in an Asian geranium that has been used in food for more than a century. According to Toloczko, DMAA has a mild stimulant effect, similar to caffeine.
“Studies of Jack3d and OxyElite have proven definitively that products containing DMAA are safe when used as directed,” she added.
A battle now looks likely between manufacturers and retailers of DMAA and critics, who argue that it is a powerful drug requiring regulation.
Sports organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Authority have listed DMAA as a banned stimulant whilst the substance is listed as a drug in Canada, meaning that products containing DMAA cannot be sold as dietary supplements in the country.
“How is this possibly being legally sold under the current rules for dietary supplements?” asked Travis Tygart, the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s chief executive.
“As long as it is not being removed from stores, we’ve got to ensure, as we have with our athletes, that consumers are aware of this issue and are making informed, reasoned decisions,” added Tygart, whose organization campaigns for tighter regulation of supplements.
A spokesperson with the FDA told Fox News it was reviewing the safety record of DMAA and its possible role in the recent military deaths and will determine if further action is needed.
This comes just after we reported that the FDA is attempting to implement stronger regulations on Supplemental Drugs, and the industry is very upset at this news. You can follow that story here.