So, the stimulant phase out continues. First, we had DMAA gone in 2012, which was followed by Amp Citrate which was phased out in 2015. Interestingly, Amp Citrate was not actually legislated out like DMAA was, however most responsible manufacturers and retailers voluntarily withdrew it from sale at this point.
Over the next six months a few derivatives became available, with Bulk Nutrients testing and then putting into production a product containing DMHA, otherwise known as Octodrine. The Australian Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has now announced that it is likely DMHA and Amp Citrate will be categorized and legislated out along with DMAA on October 1st 2017, due to their structural similarities.
Which Bulk Nutrients products will have to be reformulated?
This unfortunately means that our NO3X 2.0 pre-workout will have to be reformulated in line with the TGA’s legislation. As we currently have a stockpile of DMHA and we can’t sell it as of October 2017, we have also created a limited edition pre-workout product called Amp’d X. If this sound familiar it’s because it’s very similar to an older product we phased out a couple of years ago.
Amp’d X is heavy on stimulants and is designed for a longer and stronger workout, with maximum pump. This pre-workout comes in capsule form, so it’s very convenient for those on-the-go gym members.
What was DMAA and what did it do?
DMAA set the world on fire by being the first in a class of new stimulants. At the time of release, products like Jack3d became hugely popular, as the pre-workout craze swept across The US, Europe, Australia and many other western countries.
DMAA is a strong stimulant which was said to be naturally occurring in the geranium plant. If it did occur in the plant it did so in such minute quantities it was barely measurable. Due to this 99.9% of DMAA on the market was synthetically made (in a laboratory).
Being a central nervous system stimulant DMAA generally allowed people to train to a higher threshold, as it lowers the perception of fatigue, while stimulating the adrenal system. The result is often more weight lifted and/or more reps during sets.
Perhaps most importantly, DMAA gave users a positive high in the gym, releasing dopamine and noradrenaline, which increases motivation, focus and training intensity.
So why was it banned?
With such massive wide spread use, there was guaranteed to be some issues with DMAA and it did have some problems with safety. In the known cases where harm was caused, it was generally abused at very high doses, however, this combined with limited safety data meant it was always on limited time.
There were a few cases in both the U.S and Australia where very high doses lead to death, including a miner in Western Australia, a runner in the UK and two US soldiers who used the product. Due to DMAA being of limited medical benefit, and not approved for use in any TGA registered products, it was subsequently banned.
It should be noted, that while these (and any) deaths are tragic, hundreds of thousands of people consumed DMAA with little to no ill effect. It also needs to be understood that despite popular advice, DMAA was tested in studies, with its LD50 rate recorded at 185mg/kg of body weight (which is 15,000mg for an 80kg person).
Considering the average dose was 25–50mg, this is equivalent to someone taking a dose 300 times greater than typically recommended.
Wreaking havoc with ASADA
Another major issue with DMAA’s popularity was its proliferation with ASADA tested athletes. In the 2010–2011 financial year, 19 people failed ASADA drug tests due to the presence of DMAA. It is worth noting that many of these were bodybuilders, who had traces in their system when competing (where it arguably offered no benefit).
Many however were athletes looking to get an advantage, as well as those who trained using DMAA, but mistakenly had their last dose too close to competition, so trace amounts were found in their system.
Enter Amp Citrate and then DMHA
With the industries favourite stimulant gone, chemical companies developed analogues, which are compounds very similar in structure, however are not categorized as the same. So these technically escaped the ban.
Both Amp Citrate and later DMHA gave similar stimulant effects, however the dose required was much higher than DMAA. In this way, they were far weaker stimulants, but people (and companies) compensated using higher doses.
Over the last few years DMHA has been the stimulant of choice in The US and Australia and while the structure is similar to DMAA, we are not aware of any deaths linked to it.