A warning for those who take "workout supplements"
I am pretty lucky, I guess, and I tend to make muscle pretty easily, and I just plan a schedule where I can get my workouts in without ruining my life, so I really feel no need to rock out with the supplements but I know a lot of people that take them for different reasons (get cut faster, see the results they want, etc.) Supplements all have different ingredients and work different ways, but there are two that are going to be in the public eye soon, after two soldiers died during standard training after taking these supplements. Yikes! It really creeps me out that supplements like this can be sold to people, and labelled as "healthy", when they could be unknowingly taking something super dangerous.
What is the Deal?
There are two supplements that were being taken by different soldiers who had massive heart attacks and died during training, to which the US Army is directly linking to a pacific ingredient in the supplements. The Department of Defense has now removed these supplements, that are easily found at Vitamin Shoppes and GNC's everywhere, from all military bases: Jack3d and OxyElite Pro. The two supplements both contain the ingredient DMAA (AKA dimethylamlymine, geranimine, and natural geranium extract) which is touted as a supplement that will boost your energy, concentration, and metabolism. DMAA is one of those things that straddles the line as a "supplement": if it is labelled as such, the FDA does not need to regulate it, but MANY people in the medical field feel very strongly that it should be labelled as a drug so that it can be regulated and controlled in who uses the product. DMAA is on the World Anti-Doping Authorities list of banned stimulants for athletes in the Olympics. And in Canada, it has been labelled as a drug, and no longer allowed to be sold in supplements.
How does DMAA work?
Really, DMAA is a super stimulant, and acts similar to Ephedrine ( a "supplement" that was banned after numerous people started having heart attacks and dying after using it) and DMAA has been labelled "the new Ephedrine" by users. Apparently when used in high doses, it also has psychoactive results, which has lead to its use as a party drug, which is why some countries, like New Zealand, has banned the drug altogether. DMAA is basically like taking speed (amphetamines): It speeds up your metabolism, allowing you to burn fat faster, and gives you a ton of energy, so you can workout and see results faster, plus you have more energy to work out and out in longer, harder workouts. Within 10 minutes of taking the supplement users resort of feeling of euphoria, along with a racing heartbeat and racing mind. After about 90 minutes users report that they are able to concentrate and the racing thoughts slow, but their heart rate and blood pressure usually remain elevated. These symptoms are bad enough, but combine with caffeine, extreme working out, dehydration, and users are at a very high risk of heart attack and stroke from taking this "supplement". Some other less lethal side effects are impotence, depression, and mood swings (due to dopamine shifts in the brain- any time there is a super euphoria, there will be a super low to offset it!)
Despite that there were only two deaths with soldiers using these products with DMAA, the Army has numerous reports of cases of kidney and liver failure, seizures, rapid heartbeats and arrythmias, and loss of consciousness with various military personnel while using these products. The drug has numerous names is labeled as many different sorts of "extracts" in many different supplements, so I urge everyone to beware when taking supplements, and hopefully this will be regulated by the FDA soon. I know I probably sound like a broken record, to those of you who read my blog all the time, but you need to be really careful with any dietary supplement; they are not regulated at all, and you really don't know the effects of what you are putting in your body. You should talk to your HCP before starting any supplement that isn't prescribed for you, especially if you have any chronic medical issues or take daily medications. You could be trying to get fit, and cause irreparable damage to your body.
Yours in Good Health