When I wrote the first article under the title “ Get Ripped or Die Trying “, I had no plans on making it an ongoing title. But looks like our honest, forthright friends in the supplement industry are at it again. In early March I reported about fat burning supplements being pulled from the shelves by an FDA mandate after they were found to contain an ingredient known as Fluoxetine. Fluoxetine, for those of you who don’t recall, was a serotonin specific reuptake inhibitor and used primarily as an anti-depressant, but was also found to have a small effect on curbing appetite.
Well summer is right around the corner and the “proprietary blends” of fat burning supplements are getting a little too illegal for the likes of government agencies. The latest ingredient to catch the attention of the FDA and analogous organizations in Canada is being hidden under the name Acacia Rigidula. Acacia Rigidula is the Latin term for a small shrub that is found in southern Texas and parts of Mexico and has been marketed as “herbal extract”.
Sounds natural. Sounds harmless.
When processed this plant produces a compound called Beta-Methylphenethlamine which is chemically similar to methamphetamines.
BMPEA is first and foremost a stimulant, and a powerful one at that. Very little research is done on the actual effects of BMPEA itself on humans, but its other counterparts in the amphetamine group have been studied in depth. Those of you in the know probably remember DMAA, another amphetamine-like stimulant that caused a similar stir in 2013.
Amphetamine drugs are classified as schedule 2 controlled substances in the United States. Which means not only are they illegal to posses without a prescription but also have high potential for abuse as well as physiological dependency. Now you may not have heard of anyone trying to break bad and make BMPEA in the back of a Recreational Vehicle, but here are some other Schedule 2 drugs you may have heard of:
- Phenylcyclohexylpiperidine (PCP)
BMPEA’s positional isomer is so structurally similar to the makings of popular amphetamines that the difference can’t be detected when undergoing liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry (LC-MS), which is one of the preferred methods of drug testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Essentially what that means is if an athlete was taking any product that was found to contain BMPEA and was subjected to a drug test from an overseeing governing body of their sport, they would test positive for amphetamines and be responsible to face the respective penalty. A grand price to pay for shedding some pounds for beach season.
In mid April 2015, Harvard Medical released the damning research study. The study looked at the composition of 21 fat loss supplements, which had acacia rigidula, listed as an ingredient. From the initial list of 21 they were able to find 11 products that had the synthesized BMPEA. The illegal stimulant wasn’t just found in trace amounts either, the average dose of BMPEA in the 11 guilty products was found to be 93.7 mg per serving. This would be comparable to a pharmacologic dose of similar prescription amphetamines.
Even though the exact physiological effects of BMPEA cannot be known, as they themselves have not been tested on humans, caution should be taking when introducing any stimulant to an unexpected consumer.
I’ll close with the same message I left you with last time we spoke on laced supplements- You cant supplement hard work, and when you try, there is always a price to pay.