Health & Injuries

Runners, Beware of DMAA

by On Mar 26, 2013
Runners, Beware of DMAA

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is believed to have negative effects on our heart and may even result in death. Runners, listen up! DMAA was found in the blood of a marathoner who died of cardiac arrest at the London Marathon last year. Her name: Claire Squires. In another instance, two American soldiers who took a supplement containing DMAA died of similar cause after undergoing fitness exercise during military training.

Runners: Beware of DMAA

Although banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its performance enhancing properties, DMAA is still widely available online. According to Dr. Tom Bassindale, a forensic scientist and founder of weareforensic.co.uk, DMAA is believed to originate from the geranium plant. It is often known as ‘geranamine’ in the ingredient list of supplements to signify a natural origin. With effects said to mimic caffeine and amphetamine, DMAA is a central nervous system stimulant which increase euphoria, alertness and heart rate.

The combination of 250mg caffeine and 75mg DMAA, a fairly typical dosage in supplements, increases blood pressure by 20 per cent. DMAA causes vasoconstriction too, which is the narrowing of blood vessels and arteries. This forces the heart to work extra hard to pump blood through the narrowed vessels, resulting in an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Just to list some, these are possible detrimental effects DMAA can cause your heart: cardiac arrest, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

Runners: Beware of DMAA

To date, a safe level of DMAA for human consumption has not been established, posing an unknown risk to each consumer’s health. I strongly advise runners to be very cautious about the kind of supplements they consume. My advice is still abstinence for the time being when it comes to DMAA. Better to play it safe, especially if it’s your life we are talking about.

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Always consult your family doctor or pharmacist if unsure. And remember to seek medical attention immediately if you feel unwell after consuming any form of supplements.

Dr. Dinesh Nair is a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. His subspecialty within Cardiology is in Interventional Cardiology where he actively practises newer, minimally invasive and complex treatment modalities. These include, complex angioplasty using the radial artery (wrist) approach, as opposed to the femoral (thigh) artery, allowing earlier mobility and discharge of the patient, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement, where the aortic valve is replaced without open heart surgery via an approach from the femoral (thigh) artery.

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