Whats The Buzz: The case on DMAA

Because i'm talking about Pre workouts for a while it's important to talk about certain properties in the supplements.

The FDA is cracking down and warning supplement providers not to produce or sell supplements with DMAA. However, just as they have tried to crack down on pro hormones and it failed, companies are still producing new products with the DMAA. Working at a local supplement shop, we have certain products containing DMAA. My favorite Pre workout contains DMAA and so do many others.

Recently two military men died during a workout after taking heavy doses of "Jack3d." Coroners say that an excessive amount of DMAA was found in their blood stream and this lead to accelerated heart rate and eventually myocardial Infarction. Some say that DMAA contains chemical similarities to cocaine or speed. What are all of the side effects of DMAA though? A better question might be how can this supplement help or kill me, and is it just hot air or for real?

DMAA, just like caffeine, accelerates the heart rate and dehydrates [diuretic] the body. Dehydrating the body thins the blood stream lowering blood pressure causing the cardiac output [Q] to increase to restore levels. This means increased systol and more ventricular work. In other words dehydration accelerates heart rate. DMAA also is a stimulant causing a spike in the sympathetic NS driving heart rate up. This means more output by the heart rate at resting state and more ventricular force. In other words accelerated heart rate and more strenuous force. DMAA also causes a vasoconstriction [diameters of vessels shrink] resulting in a spike in BP and restricted blood flow to certain areas, and in some cases restricted VO2 [Volume of Oxygen intake].

So we have learned so far the DMAA:

  • Dehydrates and therefore increases Q
  • increases Q by sympathetic stimulant causes rise in BP
  • vasoconstriction causing BP to rise and VO2 to drop
Why is it even legal then? This is a question that pops into mind as we see the risks associated with DMAA. Initially this product was used as a nasal spray to combat allergies. After realizing its stimulant like properties, supplement companies were eager to add it to their concoctions. It was initially said that the DMAA extract came from germanium plants. However this is being proven false.

So here is the basic question you need to ask yourself. Should I be willing to take DMAA? The risks are presented to you at face value. We take in caffeine and processed sugars in high amounts. They have high risk factors if abused but we do it anyway. If I take in sugar it wont affect me much. But if a diabetic does they may go into a  coma. If someone who is caffeine sensitive drinks coffee, they may have a heart attack. But I'm not so when i drink caffeine I don't have an adverse reaction. Just like when i take in a product with DMAA [in conservative amounts] I respond in a safe way. It is highly about the person and how their body responds to the product. You have to know your body, so that you may know what to put in it.

The safest way to take a product with DMAA is to be properly hydrated, to continue hydrating during exercise, and to warm up so that your HR doesn't spike too rapidly. The way things are going however, you wont have to worry about that because DMAA will be off the market in not time.


  1. Good explantion of how DMAA works and of course you are right that each person responds differently, some may have an adverse reeaction and some may not. As with any thing we consume there can be unintended consinquences; but you missed the real problem and that is what is a doseage of DMAA that is safe? There are thousandws of studies on the effects of caffeine there are none on DMAA. Another problem is when the manufature hides the dosage in a proprietary formula how much are you getting and since there are no studies is any amount safe or do I just roll the dice and see if it works for me. There are many other legal reasons that DMAA is being looked at by the FDA, the short answer being that the manufactures are not following the rules.

    1. Idk, I've done well with less stim lately so I like some caffeine occasionally but try to stay away from DMAA. If its safety is at question I don't see the risk to use it.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.