Unlabeled stimulant BMPEA in sports supplement combined with exercise likely caused stroke

May 11, 2015, American College of Physicians
Micrograph showing cortical pseudolaminar necrosis, a finding seen in strokes on medical imaging and at autopsy. H&E-LFB stain. Credit: Nephron/Wikipedia

β-Methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), an amphetamine-like stimulant that has been found in dietary supplements marketed to improve athletic performance and weight loss, could be to blame for hemorrhagic stroke in a patient who took the supplement before completing a vigorous workout. The case report, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, is the first to suggest a connection between BMPEA and exercise-induced stroke.

The female patient, who was previously healthy and in good physical condition, reported sudden onset of numbness and clumsiness in her left hand that started 45 minutes after beginning her regular, vigorous workout routine. The patient reported taking the supplement, Jacked Power, as directed on the label shortly before exercising. The researchers analyzed the patient's supplement in the lab and found it contained a high dose of the stimulant, BMPEA, which was not listed in the product ingredients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers that BMPEA, a synthetic compound with unknown health effects in humans, is sometimes sold as if it were a natural compound found in the shrub Acacia rigidula. In this case, neither BMPEA nor Acacia rigidula was listed on the supplement label.

The report's lead author, Pieter Cohen, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and a practicing general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, says that consumers and physicians should be on high alert.

"Dietary supplements can legally be sold to improve workouts even when there is zero evidence that they actually work in humans," said Dr. Cohen. "This creates a perverse incentive for manufacturers to introduce untested drugs into sports supplements to achieve the advertised effect. Tragically, untested stimulants can pose serious health risks to unsuspecting consumers."

Explore further: FDA warns of liver injury from muscle-building supplement

Related Stories

FDA warns of liver injury from muscle-building supplement

April 13, 2015
The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid dietary supplements sold by a Las Vegas company because they may contain anabolic steroids that can cause liver damage.

Muscles and meth: Drug analog identified in 'craze' workout supplement

October 14, 2013
An international team of scientists have identified potentially dangerous amounts of methamphetamine analog in the workout supplement Craze, a product widely sold across the U.S. and online. The study, published in Drug Testing ...

Many consumers misled about bogus weight-loss supplements, survey says

December 30, 2014
(HealthDay)—Think a pill you saw advertised on the Internet can miraculously help you shed unwanted pounds? You're not alone: A new Consumer Reports survey finds many Americans are misinformed about the quality and effectiveness ...

Nutritionist offers advice on vitamins, dietary supplements

June 13, 2014
Before taking a daily vitamin or dietary supplement, you might want to think about what you're really consuming, says a Kansas State University human nutritionist.

Nutritional sports supplements sold in Australia test positive for banned androgens

June 23, 2014
Some nutritional sports supplements marketed to athletes—claiming to help them build lean muscle, reduce body fat and enhance endurance—are secretly fortified with androgens, which are banned from use in sports, a new ...

Recommended for you

It's not just for kids—even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime

September 21, 2018
Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it's not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z's.

Most nations falling short of UN targets to cut premature deaths from chronic diseases

September 21, 2018
People in the UK, US and China have a higher risk of dying early from conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke than people in Italy, France, South Korea and Australia.

Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO

September 21, 2018
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year—more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Smart pills dumb down medical care, experts warn

September 21, 2018
Enthusiasm for an emerging digital health tool, the smart pill, is on the rise but researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics that cautions health care ...

Crunched for time? High-intensity exercise = same cell benefits in fewer minutes

September 20, 2018
A few minutes of high-intensity interval or sprinting exercise may be as effective as much longer exercise sessions in spurring beneficial improvements in mitochondrial function, according to new research. The small study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.