If you aren’t purchasing food that’s all natural, chances are you don’t recognize all of the ingredients listed on the labeling. If you live in the US, you may see potassium bromade among the ingredients in Wonder Bread and assume it’s just an integral part of the reason why Wonder Bread inspires such wonder. Unfortunately, the people of Europe and Canada won’t get to experience that wonder because potassium bromade is banned in those countries as it is classified as a possible human carcinogen.
Likewise, if you are purchasing bodybuilding supplements, seeing 4-Amino-2-Methylpentane Citrate or R-beta-methylphenethylamine listed in the ingredients may not immediately raise a red flag as that kind of multi-compound nomenclature is standard. Although they are typically sandwiched in-between safe ingredients (such as Indole-3-Carbinol and L-Theanine), these seemingly innocuous chemicals are in fact alternate names for DMBA and BMPEA, respectively.
DMBA and BMPEA are the target of a recent Food and Drug Administration crackdown on unsafe bodybuilding supplements. From April 23 to April 28, the FDA issued warning letters to 19 companies regarding 25 products that have labeling indicating the inclusion of DMBA or BMPEA. Why the swift reaction? DMBA and BMPEA are chemically considered to be closely related to DMAA, a stimulant previously banned by the FDA because of the risks of elevating blood pressure that could potentially lead to cardiovascular problems, such as shortness of breath or heart attack.
Each warning letter claims that because DMBA and BMPEA are considered “new dietary ingredients” and that there is not enough information demonstrating that both are safe to include in supplements, products containing either ingredient are deemed adulterated and must be taken off the market. Each company was given 15 days to comply with the demand to cease production and distribution of said products.
Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, bodybuilding supplement companies are not required to obtain FDA approval before marketing and selling their products to consumers. Therefore, it is up to any cautious bodybuilding enthusiast to also become a chemistry enthusiast and memorize (and watch out for) the vast number of DMBA, BMPEA, and DMAA scientific synonyms. Otherwise, the consumer’s trust falls solely on the manufacturer to produce a safe product, and although the name may imply increased “Velocity” or suggest a “Sudden Impact” on one’s gains, like Wonder Bread, the wonder may ultimately lead to disillusionment or, worse, bodily harm. You can always check the legitimacy of the supplements you are thinking about taking at legitscript.com.