DMAA Study from JAMA Not Surprising

could have told you the conclusion to JAMA's recent DMAA study, and I don't carry a Ph.D after my name nor have I conducted a lab experiment since my freshmen year of college (and that study was not peer review or published).

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

December 6, 2012

2 Min Read
DMAA Study from JAMA Not Surprising

I could have told you the conclusion to JAMA's recent DMAA study, and I don't carry a Ph.D after my name nor have I conducted a lab experiment since my freshmen year of college (and that study was not peer review or published).

A research letter found DMAA is still on sale in the United States despite FDA sending warning letters to companies who sell the exercise supplement (Arch Intern Med. 2012;():1-2. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.724).  As attorneys Justin Prochnow and Rob Herrington noted in an INSDIER article, "An FDA warning letter is not proof of a violation, but merely the FDAs opinion that a violation has occurred."

While some companies have chosen to remove DMAA from their products after receiving a warning letter from FDA, plenty still feel the agency is wrong. They argue DMAA is legal and that selling the product is safe. Therefore, it's no surprise that companies that feel their products are safe and legal would continue to sell them.

I image the researchers, if they understood the nature of FDA warning letters, were looking for headlines with this article. And they got them. The U.S. News and World Report covered the paper and said DMAA sports supplements have been linked to at least two deaths, but yet, said the small study published found all 16 of the products mentioned in the FDA's warning letters are still available through online retailers. U.S. News did not mention that at least one of the companies has removed DMAA from its formulas.

The study used Google to find the 16 products were still available online , and went to General Nutrition Centers (GNC) to find 12 DMAA products on the shelves.

Luckily, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) represented the industry in the U.S. News article. Duffy MacKay, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN, said FDA has the authority to remove these products from the market if the agency finds they are harmful. The fact that it hasn't shows FDA hasn't yet reached this conclusion. If consumers are confused, MacKay said they should talk to their doctors.

GNC was also quoted as saying it believes the products are lawful.

Pieter Cohen, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and known supplement critic, had the last word in the article. He said DMAA should be banned.

But Cohenor even FDAdoesn't have the final say. If the agency ultimately feels it has the proof to remove DMAA from the market, it will. At that point, I imagine the issue will end up in court. Then, we'll get our final answer.

If a court were to rule DMAA is illegal, and then, products were still found on the shelvesI'd say that would warrant a JAMA study.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa


• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!


Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University


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