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DMMA in Sports Supplements

Methlyhexanamine (also known as DMMA) is increasingly being found in nutritional supplements, typically those which claim to increase energy or aid weight loss.  

The Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) and the Irish Medicines Board issued a strong precautionary message for consumers regarding the health dangers of taking food supplements or products containing the substance DMAA .  The warning arose after a number of adverse reactions internationally related to products containing DMAA, citing several documented cases of severe negative effects on the heart and brain from users.  DMAA is an illegal central nervous system stimulant related to amphetamine and has been found in food and sports supplements. It can cause high blood pressure, nausea, cerebral haemorrhage, stroke and in serious cases can be fatal. Consumers are advised not to purchase food supplements or products containing DMAA which may be available in retail outlets or online.  Some products known to contain this ingredient include Jack3D, Hemodrene, Hemorush, Crack, Marrow Matters, Spriodex, Napalm and Lipo-6 Black.

DMMA is clearly on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list and is prohibited in-competitions at an elite or inter-county GAA level.  The Irish Sports Council issued an advisory notice to athletes regarding the use of supplements following the case of an Irish Soccer player who has been sanctioned for the presence of DMMA after taking the supplement Jack3D and also a case in Rugby in 2011.  Even at the non competitive level, it is widely known that many Irish sports people have taken such products in the past.   

Retail / Online in Ireland

The FSAI are aware that food supplements containing DMAA have been imported into Ireland and are available online. Sport, health stores and Irish-based companies selling these products online are advised to remove any food supplements or products containing DMAA from sale.  According to Prof. Alan Reilly, Chief Executive, FSAI, there are several documented cases of severe negative effects on the heart and brain that show that the consumption of DMAA, especially in combination with caffeine, posing a significant risk to consumer health. “Food supplements or products containing DMAA are deemed to be unauthorised medicines and therefore their supply is prohibited into and within Ireland”.

Whilst the Irish Sports Council urge all athletes to check the content of supplements they choose to use, it stated that the real risk for sports people is the fact that the true ingredients of a supplement may not be listed on the label at all. Prohibited substances may be introduced to supplements for their effects (but left off the label) or may be introduced inadvertently through cross-contamination.  Therefore I encourage anyone who taking sports supplements to only purchase reputable brands to minimise the risks.