Research: Supplement manufactures caught redhanded again!


Weight loss and energy supplements found to contain nine prohibited stimulants.


Weight loss and sports supplements containing the compound deterenol have been associated with serious adverse events including cardiac arrest.


Supplements containing stimulants are linked to ER visits for hundreds of thousands and hundreds of deaths annually. In the past, supplements have been taken off the market for containing various banned performance-enhancing substances.  About 5 years ago, several of these “health” companies were warned and their products were confiscated for adding amphetamines and steroid-like ingredients to their products.  Supplement sales and manufacturing received a black eye and swore to make a change but unfortunately, it appears they have continued down that dirt path.  

A research study completed this year was initiated to determine if the companies were keeping up their end of the bargain and removing any banned or unsafe ingredients​[1]​.  The researchers intended to test for the presence and quantity of experimental stimulants in dietary supplements labeled as containing deterenol sold in the United States. It is not banned and can still be purchased online, but many other stimulants are banned and they should not be found in supplements sold in their country.

Some dietary supplements available for sale in the US and labeled as containing deterenol or one of its synonyms were purchased online. The researchers purchase some for testing.  For each brand, one container or subsample was analyzed for the presence of banned stimulants and deternol.  When differences existed between the two containers or subsamples of the same brand, both products were reanalyzed for confirmation. Confirmation was obtained both with a qualitative and quantitative analysis using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) quadrupole-Orbitrap mass spectrometry. 

A total of seventeen brands of supplements were analyzed. Many brands included more than one prohibited stimulant in the same product.  The researchers found that 4 brands (24%, 4/17) included 2 stimulants, 2 (12%, 2/17) combined 3 stimulants, and 2 (12%, 2/17) combined 4 stimulants.  The range of quantities per recommended serving size of the 9 stimulants detected were 2.7 mg to 17 mg of deterenol; 1.3 mg to 20 mg of phenpromethamine (Vonedrine); 5.7 mg to 92 mg of beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA); 18 mg to 73 mg of octodrine; 18 mg to 55 mg of oxilofrine; 48 mg of higenamine; 17 mg of 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA); 1.8 mg to 6.6 mg of 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA); and 5.3 mg of 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA).  That is a whole lot of banned stimulants and not on them were listed as ingredients.  

The bottom line: Weight loss and sports supplements continue to contain banned substances that are not on the label.  Deterenol is dangerous on its own so why would you want to add gasoline to that fire.  Researchers confirm that in supplements that have deterenol as an ingredient also contained 9 prohibited stimulants and up to 8 different mixtures of stimulants, with as many as 4 experimental stimulants per product.  These cocktails of stimulants have never been tested in humans and their safety is unknown, and doubtful at best.


  1. [1]
    P. A. Cohen, J. C. Travis, C. Vanhee, D. Ohana, and B. J. Venhuis, “Nine prohibited stimulants found in sports and weight loss supplements: deterenol, phenpromethamine (Vonedrine), oxilofrine, octodrine, beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA), 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA) and higenamine,” Clinical Toxicology, pp. 1–7, Mar. 2021, doi: 10.1080/15563650.2021.1894333. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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