Are DMAA Supplements Safe? What You Need to Know
Due to this, an ever increasing number of people are presented with the opportunity to try DMAA-based supplements for themselves. But before popping open a tub of pre-workout powered by DMAA, every supplement user is bound to wonder:
Is DMAA safe?Search the internet and you'll get all kinds of answers from DMAA is perfectly safe to it's worse for you than black market narcotics. But what's the truth about the safety of DMAA? Will you be OK taking it in your pre-workout, or is it setting you one the fast track to an early grave?
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DMAA 1011,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is an aliphatic amine that possesses a structure similar to that of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).  Aliphatic amines are compounds with a Nitrogen molecule bonded to alkyl groups with no aromatic rings present.
DMAA is naturally occurring in the geranium plant and can be found under several monikers including 
What Does DMAA Do?
DMAA is an extremely potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that enhances energy levels similar to that of caffeine, but works a tad bit differently. While the exact mechanisms through which DMAA increases energy isn't 100% certain, most researchers agree that DMAA stimulates noradrenaline (norepinephrine) release in the brain.
Along with adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline is one of the body's fight or flight neurotransmitters released during periods of stress (i.e. being chased by a jaguar!). FYI, noradrenaline is technically a catecholamine but does function as both a hormone and neurotransmitter in the body that's produced by the adrenal glands located on top of your kidneys.
As the adrenal glands pump more noradrenaline into the blood, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to skeletal muscle tissue all increases. Release of noradrenaline also stimulates glucose to be released from glycogen stores in your body, which can be used to power your muscles during intense exercise.
In terms of noticeable effects, noradrenaline significantly improves focus, attention, motivation, alertness, energy, and reaction time.
Additional research indicates that DMAA may also increase dopamine levels in the body, which enhances executive function as well as overall mood, focus, and concentration. This is one of the main reasons people love DMAA in pre-workouts and fat burners - you feel great and have endless energy to get work done!
As for duration of these effects, DMAA is much longer lasting and faster acting than caffeine, yet another reason people love using it. DMAA has a half-life of 8.4 hours compared to just 5.4 hours of caffeine, and a lag time of 0.14 hours vs 0.37 hours for caffeine. 
That's great and all, but you're probably still wondering if DMAA is even worth taking if it's going to harm you in any way.
Is DMAA safe?Well, that's a bit of a complicated issue as things currently stand in the opinion of the FDA. According to the feds, DMAA is not safe.  However, that's not really the whole truth.
During the endless rounds of legal back and forth between the FDA and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, a few interesting things have come to light, most notably, that the FDA tried to cover up the existence of DMAA by submitting an alternative study when the first one conducted by the Feds showed that DMAA was naturally-occurring in Geranium plants. 
So if the FDA denied the existence of DMAA, but in actuality knew it was found in nature, could they also be wrong about the safety of DMAA?
As it turns out... YES!
A 2013 review published by the Department of Defense (DoD) concluded that adverse effects observed in patients were not attributed to DMAA use.  On top of that, a toxicology report by the Senior Toxicologist at the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), Dr. Michael Lumpkin, stated:
Peer-reviewed published clinical trials, as a whole, show that acute (single serving) or subchronic (approximately 12 weeks) DMAA ingestion at doses at or below levels recommended on Hi-Tech product labels (=90 mg per serving) are safe for healthy individuals, and do not indicate clinically-relevant adverse health effects. He further added:
Although exposure to DMAA can lead to modest increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, tremors and other symptoms at sufficient concentrations and dose exposures (i.e. >100 mg doses), there is no evidence that consumption of DMAA at concentrations found in Hi-Tech's dietary supplements and according to labeled doses would result in any adverse health effects. Now, a 2012 study reported several cases of cerebral stroke that were attributed to use of DMAA as a party drug.  However, the pills that were consumed by those individuals contained 600mg DMAA, 10 times more than you would ever see in a sports nutrition supplement!
Therefore, based on all the evidence and studies presented thus far, DMAA IS SAFE for otherwise healthy individuals when consumed in amounts 90mg or less.  It is also worth mentioning again, DMAA is a very potent stimulant and can elevate blood pressure when dosed above 75mg. However, that amount has not been documented to increase heart rate. 
While there is no optimal dose of DMAA, most supplements tend to range anywhere from 25-70mg per serving, with 55-65mg being the sweet spot based on numerous anecdotal accounts.
If you're a DMAA novice, it's strongly advised to being with a ½ serving of whatever DMAA-inclusive product you're testing to gauge your own reaction to this potent stim.
Just be advised that DMAA does come with a very quick tolerance buildup and that's why most users only use DMAA supplements 2-3 times per week at most, so as to keep feeling the same great focus, energy, and euphoria without needing to continually up the dose.
DMAA is SAFE!There's been a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding the safety and legality of DMAA. For the time being, DMAA is still alive and can readily be found in numerous pre-workouts and fat burners.
Provided you're in good physical health, you can feel free to try DMAA for yourself knowing full well that the amounts included in your favorite supplements provide no immediate risks as shown in the research and court documents.
ReferencesVorce SP, et al. Dimethylamylamine: a drug causing positive immunoassay results for amphetamines. J Anal Toxicol. (2011). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21439156
2) "1,3-Dimethylpentylamine | C7H17N - PubChem." The PubChem Project, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/7753#section=Top.
3) Fleming HL, Ranaivo PL, Simone PS. Analysis and Confirmation of 1,3-DMAA and 1,4-DMAA in Geranium Plants Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Tandem Mass Spectrometry at ng/g Concentrations. Analytical Chemistry Insights. 2012;7:59-78. doi:10.4137/ACI.S10445. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3512447/
4) Cohen PA. DMAA as a Dietary Supplement Ingredient. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(13):1038-1039. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1677 http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1157413
5) Gauthier TD. Evidence for the Presence of 1,3-Dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA) in Geranium Plant Materials. Analytical Chemistry Insights. 2013;8:29-40. doi:10.4137/ACI.S11993. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3682735/
6) Schilling BK, Hammond KG, Bloomer RJ, Presley CS, Yates CR. Physiological and pharmacokinetic effects of oral 1,3-dimethylamylamine administration in men. BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology. 2013;14:52. doi:10.1186/2050-6511-14-52.
7) "DMAA in Dietary Supplements." U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ProductsIngredients/ucm346576.htm.
8) "Wenik-declaration.pdf - DocDroid." PDF Upload - Share Your Documents - DocDroid, docdro.id/q4KRRat.
9) Col John Lammie; Report of the Department of Defense 1,3 Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) Safety Review Panel; Department of Defense; June 2013
10) "DMAA Toxicology Report.pdf - DocDroid." PDF Upload - Share Your Documents - DocDroid, docdro.id/nfY14Ox.
11) Gee P, Tallon C, Long N, Moore G, Boet R, Jackson S. Use of Recreational Drug 1,3-Dimethylethylamine (DMAA) Associated With Cerebral Hemorrhage. Vol 60.; 2012. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.04.008. http://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(12)00374-5/abstract
12) Bloomer RJ, Harvey IC, Farney TM, Bell ZW, Canale RE. Effects of 1,3-dimethylamylamine and caffeine alone or in combination on heart rate and blood pressure in healthy men and women. Phys Sportsmed. 2011;39(3):111-120. doi:10.3810/psm.2011.09.1927. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22030947
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