People take all kinds of supplements to help fight against their vitamin deficiencies. If they feel they aren’t getting enough vitamin C, it’s easier to take a pill than to peel an orange. They’ll take vitamin A if they are not getting enough dairy, such as milk or cheese. Although it’s not an exact science when it comes to taking supplements, still so many people try to keep that balance, but sometimes it could mean more harm than good, especially if a person is trying to lose weight or build up muscle tone. Sometimes, under the right circumstances and supervision of a medical professional, a little help may be needed.
Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned the use of ephedrine in 2005 as part of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (incorporated into the Patriot Act), pharmaceutical companies that make dietary supplements have been scrambling around looking for the next best (if not better) thing to replace it. Technically, the rule was to ban the over-the-counter sales of medicines that contain the ingredient, pseudoephedrine, because drug abusers and other criminals were using it to manufacture methamphetamine, which is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that can be ingested by swallowing, inhaling, injecting, or smoking. The side effects include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, nausea, depression, and brain damage.
You can still buy medicines containing pseudoephedrine from behind-the-counter, but only a limited amount per individual each month and you are required to present photo ID. In addition, the stores are required to keep that personal information for at least two years. So basically, customers do not have direct access to the product before the sale is completed. If you were to try and go over the limit, you might want to expect a sudden visit from our friends at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
A similar action happened again in 2012 when the FDA warned 10 manufacturers to remove the stimulant known as Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) from their products after supplements containing the ingredient led to cases of liver failure so severe, some people who took them needed transplants. If you were to take DMAA in combination with other things such as caffeine, you can increase your chances of having a serious health risk. Ingestion of DMAA has been shown to elevate blood pressure and lead to other cardiovascular problems ranging from shortness of breath and tightening in the chest to heart attacks or worse yet, even death.
Now, it looks like we are seeing another action about to take place. According to a new study, there are popular weight-loss and workout supplements on the market today that contain a chemical nearly identical to amphetamine, a powerful stimulant that could cause serious harm to those using them. It’s actually an amphetamine isomer called Beta-methylphenethylamine (BMPEA), and several of the big-name companies have been using it as an alternative to ephedrine in nearly a dozen supplements marketed for aiding workout and weight loss. Even with the spotlight on the issue now, the FDA had noticed BMPEA in supplements back in 2013. However, according to the researchers, no appropriate action to have it removed from all dietary supplements have been made.
So for more than two years after the FDA made their conclusion about the amphetamine-like substance, this new study led by Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and lead author on the study claims the FDA “should warn consumers immediately about BMPEA and take action to eliminate it from dietary supplements”. With all that being said, I guess you could say the old influential saying “buyers beware” could not have been more stressed in the past for these types of products. As of this moment under federal law, dietary supplements (with some exceptions) can only contain ingredients that are part of the food supply or that were already on the market before 1994.
The study’s finding, which was published in the journal “Drug Testing and Analysis,” revealed that the authors bought and analyzed 21 supplements that were marketed for weight loss and athletic performance labeled as containing Acacia Rigidula from online merchants from January through April 2014. With the help of mass spectrometry, BMPEA was detected in eleven of them, or 52% of the supplements were found to contain/test positive for BMPEA. To be clear, Acacia Rigidula does not naturally contain BMPEA. The Acacia Rigidula (black brush) is a shrub found growing on rocky ridges in southwest Texas and in the northern Mexico.
Since the revelation, it has been classified as a doping agent by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it is closely related to amphetamine. Despite the fact that it was first synthesized in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamine, it was never introduced as a pharmaceutical drug nor has the side effects ever studied in humans. However, there have been animal studies that found it increases heart rate and blood pressure. This issue is getting attention from members of Congress including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D – New York) who said in a recent statement “The FDA has all the proof it needs to take these pills off shelves but consumers know none of the risks”.
However, we aren’t the only country that considers supplements as a serious risk. Britain officials had sent a letter in March of 2014 declaring that Acacia Rigidula does not meet European safety standards and could not be used as an ingredient. At the end of this past year, the Canadian government issued a recall for a product called JetFuel Superburn, which is distributed by a company called Empire Health Distribution, because it contained “two undeclared amphetamine-like drug substances that pose serious health risks,” including BMPEA.
Nobody can say for sure what the real hazards are because there hasn’t been any real testing. All anybody can do is compare it with substances it replaced, like ephedra and DMAA. Honestly, you don’t know what to expect from a compound that is produced synthetically and added to the supplements without actual human clinical trial tests. With that type of production, consumers could be exposed to “pharmacological dosages of an amphetamine isomer that could cause an unknown/unlimited amount of dangers. What’s worse is if children were consuming the drug.
We, at Rapid Detect, aren’t saying that supplements are bad for you, we just ask you to be more aware of what you are putting into your body. Luckily, most of the supplements can be tested using a simple urine drug test, like the E-Z Integrated Key Cup. If you prefer the “Dip” method, we could recommend using one of our Rapid Detect Dip Cards. While we are on the subject, if you wanted to test for Anabolic Steroids, we offer the SteriodConfirm urine kit that can be used for home, school, & workplace testing!
If you or someone you know is taking any dietary supplements to aid in weight loss or for working out, there’s obviously a risk of danger if what is being used contains BMPEA. If you want to test or know someone who knowingly is abusing their supplements to get high due to the amphetamine, you may want to call and speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants at (888) 404-0020 weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm CDT or send an email to them at [email protected] anytime. They will be able to answer your questions, consider your concerns, and help you with deciding which drug or alcohol test will be right for your needs within the respected boundaries of your budget. Rapid Detect is always here for you.