Unlisted ingredients: pre-workout supplement contains meth derivatives

Oct. 20, 2013

Eleanor Skelton
[email protected]

Consumers may not realize their exposure to methamphetamine derivatives is not restricted to watching Walter White cook on “Breaking Bad.”

Shoppers at sports nutrition vendors may be buying pre-workout supplements with meth derivatives. Since current Food and Drug Administration regulations for food supplements are often not specific, the ingredients of these mixtures are often poorly labeled and not analyzed for accuracy and consistency.

This can allow problematic ingredients to slip in.

“Manufacturers of preworkout supplements often advertise that the stimulating effects of their products are due to creatine, phenethylamines, caffeine or various natural products in the supplements” when the actual substances included could be illicit, according to a study by Jaesin Lee and colleagues published in the Aug. 20 Journal of Forensic Toxicology.

Lee’s research group in Japan isolated N,α-diethylphenethylamine (NADEP) using GC-MS analysis of two flavors of the pre-workout supplement Craze. The berry lemonade flavor contained 0.40 percent NADEP and the candy grape flavor had 0.44 percent in their results.

About 23 mg of NADEP would be present in a serving size of 5.3-5.8 g, the authors said, which falls within Knoll Pharmaceutical’s 1988 patent guidelines for the drug recommending a target dosage of 30 mg with an oral dose range of 10-150 mg.

One serving of Craze’s pre-workout supplement would be pharmacologically active, meaning it could show up in drug tests and punish athletes.

The Boston Globe reported Oct. 13 that two athletes who used Craze last year failed World Anti-Doping Agency drug tests and were consequently banned from international competitions.

NADEP was never manufactured as a drug by the pharmaceutical industry, but it is similar in structure and function to both meth and ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin and Strattera.

The writers of Knoll’s patent believed its psychoactive effects would include “cognitive enhancement and pain tolerance,” both desirable effects for performance enhancement.

In August, vendors started pulling Craze from their shelves. Alison Young, investigative reporter for USA Today, wrote Sept. 27 that Wal-Mart and bodybuilding.com had suspended sales, but “GNC and other online retailers, including Amazon.com, continue to sell Craze.”

On Oct. 14, Young reported that further testing revealed that NADEP was present in both Craze and Detonate, citing Pieter Cohen’s research at Harvard Medical School. Driven Sports announced that production of Craze had been suspended Oct. 15.