NutraIngredients special focus on DMAA

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Is it a natural geranium extract or is it synthetic? The bulk of evidence is now pointing rather unfavourably for DMAA, and with many regulators now taking steps to ban its sale, NutraIngredients takes some time out to review how the DMAA story has developed.

The controversy surrounding DMAA – sometimes referred to as geranamine – began to surface in mid-2010​ when several industry sources shared fears that synthetic versions of geranium oil were being illegally formulated into weight management products and other supplements.  

Early warning?

At the time, one source who preferred not to be named said geranium oil substitutes were being used in weight loss and body building supplements marketed mostly by fringe internet companies but also major supplements brands whose products appeared in major retail outlets.

“This whole Geranamine things has been on our radar before – about 4-5 years ago, but it never went anywhere. This time around someone got some traction with a product and now everyone is following,”​ he said.

“Problem is, this story is going to end badly at some point, probably with some form of FDA action.”

It seems some of those early predictions were correct.

In the past two and a half years the DMAA story has indeed gained a lot of traction, with a big debate and several scientific analyses trying to sort out whether or not DMAA is found in geranium oil – and what that means for the ingredient in terms of its legality.


Last week, yet another study​ concluded that DMAA is not a constituent of geranium.

The list of national regulators to begin action warning against or banning DMAA seems to grow by the week too, with Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, Malta and the Netherlands already speaking out against the controversial ingredient.

In Europe, German regulators have warned safety data for DMMA are ‘full of gaps’​ while regulators in the UK have opted for an outright ban​. While in the US, the FDA took a clear position on this when it issued warning letters​ to 10 manufacturers and distributors of supplements containing DMAA.

In this special focus newsletter, we take a look at some of the most recent developments in the DMAA tale and ask, how will the story end?

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