17 March, 2013, Mairead MacKinnon
DMAA (or 1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a stimulant that was banned in Australia as of August 8 2012, but this hasn’t stopped people from using it.
DMAA is a stimulant used in pre-workout products as well as party pills, and obtaining, supplying or using DMAA is illegal.
When the ban was announced gym junkies nationwide decided to stock up on the stimulant.
James, a 22 year old Brisbane resident, bought 20 grams of straight DMAA from BulkNutrients.com before the ban.
A spokesperson for the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration says: “buying such substances over the Internet is risky, not least because the strength of different DMAA batches can vary a great deal.”
The ban includes the personal use of DMAA, whether bought over the Internet or not.”
James says: “I’ve still got a supply of DMAA that I use every time I go to the gym, or even do things like sprinting. I use it up to four times a week.”
He takes an average of 200 milligrams of DMAA, combined with caffeine and a few other amino acids prior to working out.
“I wanted to create my own pre-workout just so I know exactly what I’m putting into my body,” says James.
He explains why he likes DMAA over any other pre-workout stimulant.
“It’s just a stronger caffeine. You can run a lot smaller doses of it, without the caffeine crash. I like using DMAA for mental awareness at the gym.”
Australian Sports Nutrition Brisbane, The Supplement Den, and BulkNutrients.com all reported spikes in DMAA sales prior to the ban.
“We saw an increase of sales closer to the date of the DMAA ban,” a spokesperson for Bulk Nutrients said, “but we ran out of stocks two or three weeks before the ban was put in place”.
When asked, Australian Sports Nutrition Brisbane said “Absolutely! [Customers] bought lots, up to ten at a time!”
Similarly, The Supplement Den says: “people sure did stock up! Some people bought 20 tubs at a time!”
Scott is a 25-year-old Brisbane man who also stocked up on, and uses DMAA.
Scott says he was able to get capsules of DMAA for very cheap from the United States.
Scott and a friend had a small business plan to break up the capsules and sell them off in packs with caffeine tablets to students at university during study periods or for parties.
This is obviously illegal and the Therapeutic Goods Association ‘urges people not to obtain, supply or use DMAA’, but Scott clearly saw a market for this product.
While Scott uses DMAA as an appetite suppressant when he is trying to lose weight, his friend likes to take them at all sorts of times.
Scott says his friend uses it as an energy source when he is drinking so he is able to stay awake to party and not pass out.
“I only use one capsule in the morning,” Scott says “I have never had any side effects and I find it works for me.”
Scott says “I have found this to work for me and have not needed to try any other [substances]” which is why he decided to stock up on DMAA in bulk.
The decision to ban DMAA was made “in response to safety concerns surrounding the abuse of DMAA and following advice from the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) and public consultation”, the Therapeutic Goods Administration says.
A spokesperson for the Therapeutic Goods Administration gives multiple reasons for the banning of DMAA.
The reasons include: no approved therapeutic uses for DMAA, no benefits but significant risks, use as a party drug, toxicity of DMAA, DMAA’s high risk of abuse, misuse and illicit use, adverse effects including high blood pressure, cerebral haemorrhage and stroke, absence of studies about DMAA’s long-term safety and the variability in the potency of DMAA.
Seven peer reviewed clinical research studies have been conducted on stimulants containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine. The data shows that products containing DMAA, when taken in the appropriate dosages, are safe.
Dr. Richard Bloomer along with other doctors conducted these studies.
“When taken at the dosage used in our studies, we have noted little adverse outcomes. Although there is a dose dependent increase in systolic blood pressure” says Dr Bloomer.
The study says: “This increase was mild and transient, and was similar to the changes reported in the scientific literature for subjects ingesting an amount of caffeine equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee.”
Each of the DMAA studies shows a mild increase in blood pressure of users while kidney and liver function were not affected and no serious effects were reported.
The studies also showed a reduced fat loss and weight loss in its patients.
When asked if the benefits of DMAA outweigh the consequences, Dr Bloomer says: “I personally am not a fan of stimulants of any sort. But people seem to like the stimulant class of dietary supplement.”
Unfortunately, these studies were conducted over a 10-week period, therefore long term effects are unknown.
So while the Australian government has banned DMAA, Australians will continue to use the stimulant until their personal stocks run out.
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