What is a DMAA pre workout and should you be using this kind of supplement to help with your workout? We review what it actually is, how to take them, when to take them and what the dangers are. We will also list some DMAA alternatives.
Please Note: to re-iterate the site’s policy, this article is for information and education only. In no way do we endorse the use of harmful stimulants or substances which are banned by any drug agency, or that are on their watchlist.
Although there is some degree of controversy regarding its use, DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine) continues to be a very popular supplement ingredient – especially in the pre-workout supplement market.
The FDA is in the process of restricting the sale and distribution of products containing the stimulant, though that has never stopped a substance’s circulation before.
People should know, however, that using DMAA comes with risks of side effects, and caution must, absolutely must, be top priority.
The present controversy surrounding the use of DMAA began after some users began abusing it and taking overly high doses and experienced severe side effects. In some cases it has even been linked to fatalities.
Armed with this knowledge it is all too easy to put total blame on DMAA for being a dangerous ingredient. We would advise against using it. yes. However, in cases where serious side effects have occurred, the most common denominator is the user’s carelessness.
Numerous studies also show DMAA is a safe ingredient when it is used in the recommended way. Having said that, it always makes good sense to advice from a medical professional prior to taking any new form of supplement of embarking on a weight loss/bodybuilding regimen.
What is DMAA?
DMAA is an organic compound that is traditionally sourced from geraniums. For this reason supplement manufacturers often call it geranium oil or geranium extract, but it is also known by a number of other names including methylhaxaneamine and geranamine.
It has a powerful stimulant effect that can make it particularly valuable to bodybuilders and its ability to function as a thermogenic fat burner makes it equally favoured by people who are searching for an effective weight loss supplement.
Although naturally-sourced DMAA is usually considered to be the preferable option, it is also possible to synthesize the ingredient under laboratory conditions. It has been speculated that synthetic DMAA is now more prevalent than the natural form.
A couple of supplement companies (who now no longer operate) added synthetic DMAA to a product, claiming it was sourced naturally from geraniums. This has been studied by the scientific community and shown to be false. There is no way the levels of DMAA in the products could have come from natural sources.
REF: Di Lorenzo C(1), Moro E, Dos Santos A, Uberti F, Restani P – Could 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in food supplements have a natural origin? – Drug Test Anal. 2013 Feb;5(2):116-21. doi: 10.1002/dta.1391. Epub 2012 Sep 3
DMAA and Fat Burning
Although DMAA is known to function as a fat burner its powers can be greatly increased when it is combined with other ingredients, such as caffeine, and some studies indicate the combined powers of DMAA and caffeine may increase the metabolic rate by 35% and improve fat burning abilities by over 169% (compared to the placebo group).
Fat burning can be triggered in a number of ways. In fact, the body can trigger it without the need for supplementation and does so any time a shortage of calories occurs. This is, of course, the reason why a calorie controlled diet is so important for dieting success.
Fat burning supplements provide a means of triggering fat burning sooner than normal or in situation where fat burning would not normally be initiated. In the case of DMAA, the effect is achieved by stimulating the central nervous system in a way that sets off an internal chain reaction that achieves the desired effect.
DMAA and Bodybuilding
Like any stimulant, DMAA can be useful when taken prior to a workout session because the extra energy it provides can enable the user to achieve a higher degree of training intensity.
However it can also provide another benefit that may seem to be counterproductive.
Many bodybuilding formulations – NO (nitric oxide) boosters in particular – are designed to provide vasodilation. This is a process that causes a slight increase in the diameter of the blood vessels that allows the muscles to receive extra oxygen and nutrients.
DMAA is a vasoconstrictor, so it does just the opposite. Slightly narrower blood vessels may reduce the amount of nutrients available to the muscles, but it also encourages muscle hypertrophy with a lower intensity and some bodybuilders report favourable results.
Possible Side Effects
Despite the ongoing controversy regarding its use, numerous scientific studies show DMAA can be used in a controlled and safe manner.
REF1: Bloomer RJ1, Farney TM, Harvey IC, Alleman RJ – Safety profile of caffeine and 1,3-dimethylamylamine supplementation in healthy men – Hum Exp Toxicol. 2013 Nov;32(11):1126-36. doi: 10.1177/0960327113475680. Epub 2013 Feb 19.
REF2: Schilling BK(1), Hammond KG, Bloomer RJ, Presley CS, Yates CR. – Physiological and pharmacokinetic effects of oral 1,3-dimethylamylamine administration in men – BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2013 Oct 4;14:52. doi: 10.1186/2050-6511-14-52.
As with any substance, problems are more likely to arise when abused. DMAA is occasionally used as a party pill, for instance, and people who use it in this way have reported side effect such as nausea and headaches. In one case a potent mix of alcohol and DMAA resulted in a cerebral haemorrhage, but DMAA was never intended to be used in such a manner.
Should You Use a DMAA Pre Workout – Recommendations
From the scientific studies we have researched (some of which are linked out to on this page) we can draw some conclusions with respect to the use of DMAA.
Our advice: Don’t use it. There are plenty of alternative options that are safer and effective.
There may be one or two studies which show that DMAA can be used safely. The same can be said for most steroids and other drugs. However, the exact knowledge of how your body will react, or how much of the substance is in any specific supplement is something you may not have.
Alternative Pre Workout Supplements – Instead of DMAA
A majority of pre workout supplements are made for men or made to be loosely unisex. There are very few that are made exclusively for women. Powher pre workout is refreshingly different – it has a formula that contains ingredients that have been formulated for a woman’s body.
If you are looking for a pre-workout, a muscle building supplement or legal steroid alternative D-Bal Max should be given some serious consideration. Take 3 tablets a day and turn your body into an anabolic environment to train harder, build bigger muscle and recover faster.