Controversy has exploded around a workout supplement that has dominated the market and been marketed as a product “sent from the heavens.”
Jack3d is advertised as a workout booster that makes energy levels and stamina skyrocket and is immensely popular among those looking to build an impressive physique—but at what cost?
As of April 27, the FDA issued 10 warning letters to manufacturers of products known to contain the ingredient that has been thrust under the spotlight: 1,3-dimethylamylamine or DMAA.
“DMAA is most commonly used as a workout aid or weight-loss supplement and can have a physiological effect on the body narrowing the arteries and raising the heart rate. This has been linked to suspected adverse drug reactions worldwide, ranging from shortness of breath to heart attacks. It has also been linked to at least one fatality,” according to a press release from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Originally, DMAA was used as a product for nasal decongestion in the ’40s but was taken off the market in the ’70s as medicine regulations became increasingly strict.
The controversy regarding the product is worldwide. Jack3d has been banned in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where DMAA has emerged as one of he main ingredients in party pills known to cause adverse effects.
The stimulant resurfaced in 2006 when American chemist Patrick Arnold reintroduced it as a dietary supplement, which under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, allowed it to go on market without approval from the FDA.
Manufacturers and distributors today advertise the stimulant as a natural product of geranium. However, research has shown that this is a false claim and that DMAA is actually synthetic.
Additionally, the World Anti-Doping Agency, an agency that fights against doping in sports, added the controversial ingredient to the 2010 prohibited list in 2009.
Many athletes have been stripped of their medals or debarred from participating after DMAA was detected in their systems.
The storm around products containing DMAA flurried again just last year when Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which also contains the stimulant, were prohibited on military bases after they were believed to be a factor in the death of two soldiers who collapsed during exercises. A toxicology report showed that both soldiers had DMAA in their systems.
Despite the unfolding dangers associated with the product, there has been an overwhelming amount of praise for Jack3d.
“I really felt like it gave me an edge in the gym that I have never felt from a pre-workout formula,” a product reviewer on supplimentreviews.com said.
However, there has also been an alarming rise in reports of disconcerting adverse effects of the product.
“Out of all the pre-workouts I’ve tried, Jack3d is somewhere at the bottom for me. Made me feel like I was taking legal crack. My hands would shake for no reason even after my workouts,” a product reviewer said.
“Huge downs after the training. I felt very sad for no reason,” another product reviewer said.
A significant amount of reviewers reported dizzy spells, insomnia, nausea, heavy crashes and cold sweats. Many even raised concerns of addiction. Despite the increasing knowledge of the dangers of pre-workout supplements containing DMAA, the product can still be purchased—even at GNC stores.
When questioned, a local GNC sales representative denied knowing about any of the controversy surrounding Jack3d and similar products and evaded further questioning.
Efforts were made to contact Linfield coaches and athletes, but due to the sensitivity of the subject, there were no responses.
For more information about DMAA, visit www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm302133.htm.
Chrissy Shane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org