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Performance booster supplement DMAA draws national media attention


DALLAS — The Department of Defense's investigation of a sports supplement ingredient — associated with the death of two soldiers — has been making headlines in the past week as the U.S. Military's independent paper Stars & Stripes ran an update of the news on Jan. 29 and the New York Times picked up on the story Feb. 2. 

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service in December pulled 18 supplements containing dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, that were sold on Army and Air Force bases through GNC because of a potential link to the deaths of two soldiers, according to a Stars & Stripes story published Dec. 5. The issue appears to be similar to that of ephedra, a dietary ingredient banned by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004. Ephedra generated national headlines as the deaths of two professional athletes — Korey Stringer of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings and Steve Bechler of Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles — were linked to the use of ephedra supplementation. Like ephedra, DMAA is used as a performance booster.

A subsequent Stars & Stripes report confirmed that the U.S. Army soon thereafter began investigating the link between DMAA supplementation and the deaths of the two soldiers, both of whom suffered heart attacks, following toxicology reports that were positive for DMAA. "The Army launched an ongoing safety review after recording a number of other serious health effects among known and potential users of products containing DMAA including 'kidney and liver failure, seizures, loss of consciousness, heat injury and muscle breakdown during exertion, and rapid heartbeat,'" the military daily reported Dec. 15, citing a written response from Army spokeswoman Maria Tolleson.

“Compared to the handful of adverse event reports recently cited by the Army, GNC has sold 440 million doses of product containing DMAA since 2007 and has not received a single serious adverse event report,” GNC spokesman Greg Miller told Stars & Stripes, according to the report.

The manufacturer identified in the reports is USPLabs, which is selling the DMAA supplements under such brand names as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro.

For the Dec. 29 Stars & Stripes story, click here.

For the Feb. 2 the New York Times story, click here.

For the original Dec. 5 Stars & Stripes story, click here.

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