Chances are throughout your workout life you may have heard of or have taken pre-workout supplements such as Jack3D or 1MR. To the dismay of many (us included), these products are no longer available off the shelves in Australia. To make matters worse, it is now also illegal to use them. Why? Because they contain DMAA.
On the 8th of August 2012, the government body ‘Therapeutic Goods Administration’ (TGA) made a final decision to class products with ingredients 1,3-dimethylamylamine or 4-methylhexane-2-amine (DMAA) prohibited for sale, supply and use in Australia (appendix C of Poisons Standard 2012 (SUSMP 3)). Being banned in the U.S and NZ certainly didn’t help, but below are the official reasons for the ban:
- there are no current approved therapeutic uses for DMAA;
- there are no benefits but there are significant documented risks;
- DMAA is widely used in supplements and is being used as a party drug;
- there are risks due to DMAA’s toxicity;
- DMAA presents a high risk of abuse, misuse and illicit use;
- reports of adverse events including high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, cerebral haemorrhage and stroke;
- an absence of studies demonstrating the long-term safety of DMAA; and
- the wide variability in the potency of the different doses of DMAA.
There is no mentioning of it being harmful or even dangerous, but chances are there can be some serious health risks or complications if overused in one dose consumption (hence why you needed to follow instructions). In Australia, there has only been one documated DMAA related death, with two cases overseas. In these two scenarios, one was pure DMAA, whilst the other was a massive overuse for Army training purposes. Both case are either not adhering to recommended dosage or total over usage, read here Mining Case and Army Case.
With the popularity and widespread usage of products such as Jack3D, it is quite a surprise that there were not many more reports or studies bringing the potential health concerns of DMAA to light sooner. For Australia, it seems the ban was actually more about the lack of control and potential misuse by people consuming it, rather than for straight out health reasons. Since these pre-workout supplements are readily available from major supplement stores with no limit on quantity, anyone can purchase them with the deliberate intention of getting “high”, as the effects are similar to amphetamines, more commonly known as the street drug Speed. There was one article in the Adelaide news about a few teens going using it as a “party drug”. Such misuse only rings alarm bells for authorities to control DMAA… not to mention spoiling it for the rest of us legitimate users.
For us sensible gym folks, low and moderate amounts are consumed as we are cautious of what we are putting into our body. We need the heightened focus, confidence and determination going into hard workout sessions – much like winding up the boost in a performance car.
Sure there is that little pop, buzz and tingle when it settles into the bloodstream, but all we are focused on is pushing those extra reps, smashing the heavier weights and tearing the gym apart… using it to get high before a party is the last thing on our mind and surely there are worse substances out there for that.
So where does that leave us now? Well for those who stacked up on their favourite pre workout formulas, they don’t have to worry until their reserves run dry. For the unfortunate rest of us, we will just have to eagerly wait for the revised version of DMAA products, or just settle for a caffeine-based stimulant fix before a workout.
DMAA, you will be missed.