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Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Clinical Research Division Biologic Nutrigenomic Health Research Corp.

688-2397 King George Hwy, BC V4A 7E9

Research/Trial Director: Prof Franco Cavaleri BSc NB

Original post: January 21, 2011


Brief Layman discussion accompanied by informal (monograph) description

Prof Franco Cavaleri BSc NB

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

Due to numerous requests the following DMAA information has been released by BNHR for public referencing.

What is Dimethylamylamine (DMAA)?

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

DMAA is known and may be described on labels as:


1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA),

2-Hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI),


In addition to these chemical names it is also described by more layman terms such as:

Geranium oil extract,


DMAA is ultimately derived from geranium oil.

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

Geranium oil is a common aromatherapy application used to elevate mood, improve state of mind and cognition, produce a relaxed but still alert state. It’s also a well known astringent. The oil contains small amounts of the active DMAA (less than 1%) and has a profoundly different psycho-activity than pure DMAA.

The extracted or synthesized DMAA is a powerful central nervous system stimulant quite similar to ephedrine and amphetamines in some of the pharmacological activities. However, scientific reports show that it may not have the same (degree of) vasopressive effects as ephedrine – this means it may not constrict blood vessels to the degree that ephedrine and amphetamines might. Conflicting data on the vasopressive activity exists.

History of DMAA

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly filed for a patent in 1944 for the drug (DMAA) as a nasal decongestant and it was trademarked in 1971 as Forthane. Historical research was done using en vivo canine and human subjects as well as in vitro work. The original trademark expired but the drug survives today and seems to have become quite popular amongst athletes in the last four years as a stimulant and has made an impact in the category of bodybuilding and power-performance nutrition.

Current regulatory status

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

The FDA has not approved DMAA for use as a supplement in its pure form but it does allow the use of geranium oil (<1% DMAA) in foods. But the FDA has not set out strict regulations regarding DMAA. Many supplement manufacturers have begun to label DMAA as Geranium Oil ‘extract’ or ‘isolate’ to smoke screen regulatory agencies. An authentic geranium oil extract will not deliver the pharmacological potency of pure DMAA.

Arbitrary testing of products on the retail shelf claiming to contain geranium oil extract: Upon testing three nutritional products in the marketplace expected to have pure DMAA in them based on the physiological and psychological effects but claiming on the label to have geranium oil extract, laboratory results demonstrated irrefutably that DMAA in its pure form at levels exceeding 40 mg per dose existed. Conclusion: evidence of false label claim established – not geranium oil isolate or extract in the formula; rather pure DMAA HCl.

New Zealand has straight out banned DMAA’s distribution, sale or use.

Canada has done the same to ban use …

…but DMAA surfaces dangerously as a powder form being sold on the internet… and other sources.

Powder forms in their pure state are dangerous simply because it is way too easy to mis-dose.


Typically used in doses that range from 10 mg per administration (low end) to 75 mg per administration (extremely high end). More commonly seen at a range between 25-50 mg dosing.

Phsycho- and physio-logical effects last anywhere from 2 – 5 hours after administration depending on dose, body weight, hydration level, meal size and composition in and around drug administration, and consumption of caffeinated foods or beverages 0r administration of adjunctive stimulants (caffeine, ephedrine) or liver p450 enzyme inhibition (grapefruit etc).

Abridged pharmacology

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

DMAA works in the body much like norepinephrine (sympathomimetic amine)does to speed up heart rate, constrict blood vessels and create a state of mental alertness through norepinephrin – like activity in the neural synapses. Research demonstrates a physiological effect that includes increases heart rate but also increased stroke volume to create a pounding pulse -dangerous combination of activity if arterial insufficiency is a concern.

Conflicting data on vasopressor activity; some research indicates improved peripheral blood flow to maintain that pump feel during physical work; while restricting blood flow to organs – a physiological affect of the adrenergic activity (fight or flight emulation). This may be the source of the conflicting vasopressor activity if measured at different biological tissues and times. DMAA has a different affect on systolic blood pressure(can significantly elevate it) than it does on diastolic pressure (mild influence).

It enhances bronchodilation (expands bronchi) to improve air flow and improves norepinephrine status or activity in neural synapses to elevate mental state, improve mood and even create a mild euphoria.

Research indicates that DMAA has adrenergic activity supporting its role in thermogenic formulations for weight management; some reports indicate appetite suppression; improved mental focus / energy; physical exertion capacity; and work drive. For these reasons it has become popular in the ‘Fat Loss’ and ‘Performance Enhancement / Running’ categories.

Current evolution

Recreational Drug : becoming recognized as an amphetamine-like recreational drug; party pill-type drug

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

Performance Enhancement: widely used by professional and amateur athletes to enhance performance, stamina and power; so much so that new detection and policing protocols have been adopted to catch athletes using this substance in sports where it is banned. World Antidoping Agency added DMAA to its banned list in 2010

Manufacturers of ‘health products’: being included in more and more weight management and ‘pre-workout’ products and openly disclosed on labels; often hidden behind analogous nomenclature.

Studying Students: being widely used in hidden forums by students to pull off ‘all-nighter’ study sessions; is thought to improve cognitive performance: alertness and memory recall

Street drug: it is becoming a dangerous street drug hazard when used without monitoring or discretion; euphoric high is associated with use

Valid Uses for DMAA:

Dementias, senility, nootropic, nasal decongestant

Common Adverse Effects:

Nausea, headaches, anxiety, dry mouth, flushing; more extreme effects – chest pain and even strokes have been reported; ADDICTIVE

Overdosing (relative but…>50mg is considered the high end dose): heart palpitations, blood pressure elevation, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, blackout, and even stroke


Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Old central Nervous Stimulant reaches new public awareness!

DMAA has not been extensively studied so an accurate formal drug monograph is not available; oral LD50 has not been established; long term adverse effects are not known; mixing with other stimulants, alcohol or recreational drugs is NOT recommended.

Some research indicates that 30 mg per day is the recommended maximum; other informal recommendations indicate that 90 mg per day is the recommended maximum with a max single dose of 50 mg per administration separated by 5 hours in-between a subsequent one.

Personal experience:

Limited lab work with DMAA in formulations; formulation test demonstrated extremely powerful mind and cardiovascular stimulation; anxiety and workout drive enhanced; as well as cognitive/mentation drive.

SUBJECTIVE Data collection from small group (5) of subjects testing the formulation containing 25-30 mg DMAA per dose and 100 mg caffeine concurrently (within the same formulation):

within 15-20 minute of taking the dose >Cardiovascular/pulmonary stimulatory effects significant – elevated heart rate, breathing and cognitive stimulation; mentally alert

at 60 minutes > most reported cardiovascular stimulation reduced to lightly elevated status; with persisting mental stimulation/alertness; dry mouth

at 75 minutes > mental state of euphoria was greater; heightened alertness; cardiovascular state normal; highly controlled mentally stimulated state; feeling of heightened wakefulness, awareness and calm

at 3 hours from administration > calm; no jitters; still alert

at 5 hours from administration > calm; no jitters; still alert; relaxed but no ‘crash’ feel

PERSONAL OP: I wouldn’t take more than 50 mg per administration and prefer not to exceed one 30 mg dose per day if I were to consider using for training

Common / Expected label warnings found on DMAA-containing products:

Not for use by individuals under 18 years of age or by women that may be pregnant or nursing. Do not combine with other stimulants. Do not use if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, liver, kidney disorders, or any other physical or psychological condition. Do not use is you are taking prescription medication, especially including MAO inhibitors.

Always consult a physician prior to using.


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