Unintentional Meth-Fueled Workouts

Methamphetamine analog identified in workout supplement Craze in new study

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Plenty of people fuel their workouts with protein and other supplements. Unfortunately, it's not always clear what may be added to these supplements. In some cases, dangerous substances have been found in products sold as natural supplements.

Researchers have identified a methamphetamine-like chemical in a dietary supplement available throughout the US.

The supplement, called Craze, is sold as fuel for workouts and is sold both in US stores and online.

The researchers urged regulatory authorities to take note and warn consumers.

"Talk to your doctor about which supplements you use."

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive drug that causes an initial rush of euphoria, but then can be followed by feelings of anger, anxiety and fear, explained the National Institutes of Health.

According to the researchers, led by Pieter A. Cohen, MD, of Harvard Medical School, their study began after several athletes were disqualified after testing positive for N,α-diethyl-phenylethylamine (N,α-DEPEA), a methamphetamine analog. Chemical analogs are compounds that are similar to each other, but have atomic structures that are slightly different.

"Athletes have claimed they unknowingly consumed the banned stimulant in workout supplements," the authors of this study wrote. The reports were connected to Craze, a supplement produced by Driven Sports, Inc. and marketed as "performance fuel."

Dr. Cohen and colleagues tested three samples of Craze, one of which was purchased online from a US supplement website, one which was purchased in-store at a location of the supplement and vitamin store GNC and one which was purchased online from a European supplement website. The three samples had different lot numbers, meaning they were from different batches of the product.

Using a process called ultra-high performance liquid chromatography, the samples were analyzed for N,α-DEPEA. NSF International, a public health organization whose clients include some producers of dietary supplements, analyzed the US-bought samples and Netherland's National Institute for Public Health and the Environment analyzed the European-bought samples.

The labs found that all three samples contained the meth analog N,α-DEPEA. These findings were confirmed by the Korean Forensic Service.

Furthermore, the researchers found over 20 milligrams of the compound per serving in the samples, leading them to conclude that its inclusion was not due to minor contamination.

"We found a potentially dangerous designer drug, N,α-DEPEA, in three separate lots of a widely available dietary supplement," explained Dr. Cohen and colleagues. "N,α-DEPEA is a structural analogue of methamphetamine; however, its stimulant, addictive, and other adverse effects in humans are entirely unknown."

The study authors noted that N,α-DEPEA has not been studied in humans.

"If our findings are confirmed by regulatory authorities, the FDA should take immediate action to warn consumers and remove all N,α-DEPEA-containing supplements from the marketplace," Dr. Cohen and colleagues recommended.

This study was published online October 14 in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis. One study author is an employee of NSF International, a public health organization whose clients include some producers of dietary supplements.

Review Date: 
October 14, 2013
Last Updated:
October 15, 2013