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Is DMAA Legal? US Court Decides No

The supplement dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, has been controversial since its release.

It is a speed-like substance that’s popular among people looking to lose weight or build muscle.

It’s been included as an ingredient in hundreds of brand-name weight loss and bodybuilding supplements over the years; however, during the past year, there has been substantial legal wrangling around the substance.

Many people interested in supplements containing it have found themselves asking, “Is DMAA legal or is DMAA illegal?”

These are valid questions, as the status of DMMA has recently changed. An April 2017 summary judgment has made the substance illegal for sale and use.

While a motion was filed by a supplement manufacturing company challenging the ruling, which had sided with the FDA, the motion has been denied and the judge upheld.

Botanical Or Not Botanical?

The June 2 order denying the challenge was issued by the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia.

The court turned away all three primary arguments by the gutsy supplement manufacturer against the April 2017 summary judgment.

One of these arguments was a claim that the court “encroached on the policy-making prerogative of Congress.”

The court disagreed with the company’s claim that DMAA falls under the category of botanicals, stating such substances are required to have a history of extraction in usable quantities in order to earn the title “botanical.”

Many researchers wanted DMMA banned at least five years ago right after it hit the supplement market.

Safe, Natural Stimulant or Heart Health Risk?

After numerous adverse events reported to the FDA regarding DMAA, the substance has finally been banned.

It had been banned in Canada and other countries almost immediately, and many medical professionals believe DMAA should never have been allowed as an ingredient in supplements due to its numerous risks and hazards.

The very first introduction of DMAA was in 1948 as a treatment for nasal allergies. However, approval was withdrawn in the 1970s.

More recently, DMAA has been touted as “a natural stimulant.”

However, there has always been controversy as to just how “natural” it really is. One study put forth that it’s an ingredient in geranium oil, but the evidence for this is flimsy at best.

People in the fitness realm gravitated toward the substance due to the stimulating “upper” effect it can have.

They used it as an energy boost to give them more strength and endurance for longer, harder workouts.

Supplement companies responded, including the stimulant in an increasing number of workout formulations.

So, Is DMAA Legal Or is DMAA Illegal?

The FDA was not very quick to act on the legality of DMAA, but took action earlier in 2018.

A supplement manufacturer sued the FDA to try and change the ruling on DMAA legalization.

Even as the case made its way through the courts, they continued to create, produce and sell products that included the stimulant. Not surprisingly, this was a source of controversy throughout the process.

The recent summary judgment issued in favor of the FDA puts the matter to rest – at least for now. “Is DMAA legal?” No. 

Yes. However you pose the question, the answer goes back to the April ban of the substance, which has been upheld.

Just Not Enough Evidence to Show DMAA is Plant-Based

At this time, DMAA will not be regarded as a legal dietary ingredient due to the fact that just trace amounts of it are found in or derived from nature.

When denying the supplement manufacturer’s motion to reconsider, Federal Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr., cited the absence of legislative, statutory and case law guidance pertaining to considering this drug “botanical.”

The word implies something derived from a plant, which DMAA is not.

Ask yourself as someone looking to start your own supplement company, is carrying such a controversial item worth it?

They definitely have their own take on answers to the questions “Is DMAA legal?” and “Is DMAA illegal?” 

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