- Researchers found that six supplements claiming to contain an ingredient called ‘2-aminoisoheptane’ actually contained banned compounds
- The stimulants in the supplements have been linked to heart problems and are similar to ephedrine, which was linked to 155 deaths before it was banned
- The study authors discovered additional products containing the ‘mislabeled’ ingredient after completing the study
- They warn that consumers should be weary of the supplements they buy and be sure they do not contain ingredients that are not FDA-approved
Banned stimulants have been found in six workout and diet supplements, according to a study done by the US Department of Defense, Harvard and global health organization NFS International.
The substances are likely similar to ephedra, a stimulant that can cause strokes, heart attacks and sudden death and was banned by the FDA in 2003 after it was linked to at least 155 deaths, including Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.
Listed as ‘2-aminoisoheptane,’ on their labels, Game Day, Infrared, Simply Skinny Pollen, Cannibal Ferox AMPED, Triple X, and a product simply named for that ingredient all contain enough of ephedra-like compounds to be dangerous.
The study authors from Harvard Medical School, The US Department of Defense, NSF international and National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM) urge consumers to carefully read supplement ingredients lists and get to know what each means.
Diet and exercise supplements, including Infrared (left) and Cannibal Riot 2-aminoisoheptane (right) contain a synthetic stimulant banned by the FDA, a new study from Harvard and NFS International revealed
The researchers analyzed samples of six popular workout and dietary supplements that they suspected might include ingredients similar to three stimulants that were banned by the FDA in recent years.
The supplements, including ‘Amazon’s Choice,’ Game Day and the 5-star-rated Cannibal Ferox AMPED list 2-aminoisoheptane as one of their ingredients.
The FDA requires that all dietary supplement makers submit a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) form with information proving the ingredient’s safety before they market a product with ingredients that have not been previously approved.
No NDI has been submitted for 2-aminoisoheptane, so there is not proof that the ingredient is safe.
When the researchers tested the six products for 2-aminoisoheptane, they found that only one of the six actually contained the ingredient.
Triple X (left) and Cannibal Ferox AMPED (right) contain enough of banned stimulants to warrant health concerns, according to the study
‘That piqued my curiosity,’ says study co-author John Travis of NSF International, ‘so what’s in there?’
The researchers did more screening, this time not looking for particular ingredients but instead trying to work out what substances were actually in the six supplements.
They found that the supplements contained variations of the banned DMAA and DBMA, masquerading as 2-aminoisoheptane. Several versions of both of those compounds have been banned by the FDA for concerns that they are not safe and could have similar effects on the heart as ephedrine.
Its unknowable if the supplement-makers, or their ingredient-suppliers knew that they were using an adulterated or ‘mislabeled’ ingredient, but consumers certainly didn’t, Travis says.
The supplement makers could be ‘being duped by supplier, it’s so difficult to know,’ Travis says.
‘All we know is have products on market with this ingredient that has been adulterated, and even that ingredient has not been proven safe.’
The researchers found that Simply Skinny Pollen (left) and Game Day (right) both contain compounds banned by the FDA
‘Can you imagine taking one of these products and thinking you’re getting one ingredient and actually getting one that was banned?’ marvels Travis.
He says that all of the products he and his team tested were already on the market in the US, but being sold internationally online. What’s more, Travis says that when he searched the internet for 2-aminoisoheptane again, more products came up.
‘We think we were doing study and pulling products just at the genesis of this ingredient coming onto the marketplace,’ Travis says.
He advises that customers ‘be wary because you may not be getting what you expect to be getting and you may be getting products that are putting your health at risk.’
Organizations like NSF International offer certification programs for supplements. Marks like NSF’s blue dot certify that a product has been tested and does not contain any banned compounds or contaminants