Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Dietary supplements: Risk vs. reward

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27th Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Have you heard of the chemical dimethylamylamine? This substance was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 and was in a number of dietary supplements.

In clinical research, taking a product containing DMAA has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure. There have also been several reports of dangerous side effects including stroke, lactic acidosis, heart attack and death in people who have taken DMAA.

A recent study revealed that 12 out of 14 supplements recently tested now contain a substance called DMBA, which has similar chemical properties of DMAA.

We recommend Air Commandos avoid using products containing these compounds; at the very least, follow the dosage instructions on labels carefully. More is not necessarily better when it comes to stimulants that have the potential for cardiac-related side effects.

Often, service members ask whether there is an all-encompassing list of dietary supplements that are banned or illegal for use by military personnel.

The Human Performance Resource Center notes that the Department of Defense does not maintain a list of banned dietary supplements or supplement ingredients. If the FDA or the Drug Enforcement Administration has not banned or declared an ingredient or dietary supplement product illegal, then the DoD does not consider it banned or illegal.

The FDA has found that many dietary supplements, especially weight-loss, bodybuilding and sexual-enhancement products, contain undeclared drug ingredients that could be potentially harmful or produce unwanted results in urinalysis tests. To date, the FDA has declared two dietary supplement ingredients illegal: ephedra and DMAA.

One of the only ways to stay safe from undeclared ingredients in dietary supplements is to avoid using them altogether, or use products certified by the National Supplement Foundation. Products tested by the NSF protect against adulteration of products and verify label claims against product contents in the finished product or ingredients.

For more information on supplements, contact the Cannon Health Promotion Dietitian at 575-784-1003. Visit for a full list of products that contained DMAA.