Unlike drugs, in the US supplements are not regulated. Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can and does act in certain circumstances, mostly after something has gone wrong. We want it to remain that way as more government is not necessarily a good thing. A popular supplement has recently been pulled, though not by the FDA.
Popular health supplement pulled, on hold
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, Calif. – Concern over troop safety prompted a Department of Defense ban on a popular workout stimulant Dec. 7, 2011.
Products with the ingredient Dimethylamylamine are now on medical hold in light of an ongoing review of its potentially serious side effects.
DMAA is a stimulant that affects the vasoconstrictor and central nervous systems. It is primarily found in dietary supplements and weight gain / muscle building products. The stimulant has also been banned by Major League Baseball and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The supplement was originally a nasal decongestant, but now finds its home in many athletics-enhancing products, like the popular Jack3d line.
On-base health stores, such as General Nutrition Centers, were directed to check their products’ labels and pull ones containing DMAA from shelves, according to the Department of Defense Hazardous Food and Non-Prescription Drug Recall System alert 036-2011. The alert is an update to ALFOODACT 034/2011. See original story
The above quoted post goes on to list popular supplements that contain DMAA. That it has been banned by World Anti-Doping Agency and Major League Baseball means only one thing, it works. It also means that it may not be long before it joins other stimulants and thermogenics such as ephedra. In fact, ephedra was banned by the FDA in 2004, but a federal judge ruled against ephedra ban in April 2005.
It may also be interesting to know that other popular supplements have faced calls for banning from some quarters. One of them is creatine, whose detractors called for banning, based mainly on anecdotal “facts” surrounding the supplement. Creatine was not banned mainly because it is actually food, and found in many foods including a nice juicy steak.