An ingredient in popular dietary supplements and energy drinks has been labeled by the Food and Drug Administration as extremely dangerous and linked to several deaths. So why is it still available in this country? A closer examination of this specific case reveals the much larger issues of how consumers aren’t always protected from deadly products, and just how complicated holding those responsible can be.

The ingredient is 1,3-dimethlamylamine – more commonly known as DMMA. It’s used in at least one dietary supplement favored by many individuals as part of their daily workout routines. It’s also found in energy drinks. All totaled, in 2011 over $100 million in products containing DMMA were sold.

Health Dangers Posed by DMMA

On April 11, the FDA issued a consumer warning about DMMA, saying that it is very dangerous, especially when used with caffeine. Dangers from DMMA, according to the FDA, include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Heart palpations
  • Arrhythmia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart attack

The FDA asked companies that sell products containing DMMA to take them off the market. Most have complied.

But a recent NBC-TV news report highlighted one company that has not. The company manufacturers a supplement called Jack3d that contains DMMA. It vigorously defends the supplement, which is widely used by fitness devotees. While the FDA has 42 reports of adverse events from products containing DMMA, including cardiac disorders, psychiatric disorders, and death, the product manufacturer maintains Jack3d is safe.

Furthermore, the company claims in the news report that the FDA has no jurisdiction over DMMA because it is a natural substance, extracted from a geranium found throughout China. Experts have disputed this, saying that it is a commercially produced, dangerous drug and therefore under the FDA’s purview.

DMMA already has been banned in other countries around the globe, including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Retailers Still Selling Dangerous Product

The FDA issued a warning about DMMA not only to product manufacturers, but also to retailers of products that contain the ingredient. Some retailers continue to sell the product any way. The NBC report identifies the nation’s largest retailer of supplements as one such company.

So consumers have been warned about the potential deadly dangers of DMMA but continue to use it, while makers waive off any concerns. And some major questions remain unresolved. That, however, many not necessarily absolve the manufacturer and the sellers of any blame over the catastrophic harm this particular product causes.

If you or a loved one has been victimized by any defective product or drug, an experienced attorney can lead the investigation to determine those responsible.