April 7, 2015 — A study published in Drug Testing & Analysis has identified 11 supplements that are marked as “all-natural” but actually contain an amphetamine-like ingredient known as BMPEA.
BMPEA (β-methylphenylethylamine) is an amphetamine isomer that was discovered in the early 1930s, but never studied for safety in humans. Animal studies indicated that it could cross the blood-brain barrier and elevate heart rate and blood pressure.
In 2013, testing by the FDA discovered BMPEA in 9 out of 21 supplements that were marked as containing Acacia rigidula. The agency warned that Acacia rigidula does not contain BMPEA, and the synthetic chemical resembles amphetamines. The FDA did not issue any consumer warnings.
One year after those warnings, Dr. Pieter Cohen and colleagues at Harvard Medical School decided to test supplements containing Acacia rigidula to see if they still contained BMPEA.
Remarkably, BMPEA was still an ingredient in 52% of the supplements tested (11 out of 21). Users who took the recommended amount of the supplement could be exposed to up to 94-mg of BMPEA per day. Because the safety of this ingredient is questionable, Dr. Cohen recommended immediate action by the FDA:
“Consumers of Acacia rigidula supplements may be exposed to pharmacological dosages of an amphetamine isomer that lacks evidence of safety in humans. The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements.”
Dr. Cohen is also responsible for warning about the amphetamine-like ingredient DMBA in 12 supplements that were tested last year.
According to Consumer Reports, BMPEA was found in the following weight-loss supplements:
- Aro Black Series Burn (Vitocost)
- Dexaprine XR (IForce Nutrition Tribravus Enterprises)
- MX-LS7 made by iSatori
- Black Widow (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Lipodrene Hardcore (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Lipodrene Xtreme (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Stimerex-ES (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Yellow Scorpion (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
- Fastin-XR (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
BMPEA was also found in the following sports supplements:
- Jet Fuel T-300 (GAT)
- Jet Fuel Superburn (GAT)
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