Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ingredient Caution: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

Recently two elite level athletes tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, (Former American 100 Meter champion Michael Rodgers and Robert Kendrick, American tennis player) a stimulant that is now being put in energy drinks and energy pills for its amphetamine-like affects. 1, 2 Dimethylpentylamine or DMAA, is a potentially dangerous supplement ingredient that comes from a well-known flower---the geranium. The active form of geranium is a potent stimulant that can cause serious health effects like heart palpitations, increased blood pressure and possible heart attacks. It acts similar to ephedra, (now banned) another stimulant partly responsible for the sudden death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler in 2003, from heat stroke.

Last year the World Anti Doping Agency added Geranimine to its list of banned substances. Geranimine gives an adrenaline “rush” that lasts 3-5 hours. Next generation energy drinks (one named Clear Shot) and other dietary supplements like “fat burners” (AMP by E-Pharm) that are marketed to increase concentration and performance, contain this stimulant---often listed as geranium seed or stems on the label. Some energy pills and “party pills” also contain the stimulant and added caffeine, as well. Most of the products out there combine it with caffeine to produce a stacking effect that can potentially be lethal in certain situations. In high temperatures or heat indexes, the dehydrating effect of this combination could have serious health effects for an athlete.

The average high school or collegiate athlete, or any consumer for that matter, would have no idea that this ingredient is powerful and dangerous----especially when taken with alcohol or other prescription drugs. Coaches and trainers working with athletes need to ask athletes on a regular basis what supplements they are taking---or considering taking----and caution them on taking anything that advertises more energy, fat burning or better performance. The safest and most effective way to improve health, energy and performance is via whole fresh foods. And more enjoyable, too!

Kim Larson, RD, CD
Total Health
Sports Nutrition Consultant

1 comment:

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