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What Is DMAA Pre Workout? (Why You Should Avoid It)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 8, 2023
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DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine) once ruled the playground of the best pre-workouts. It all came to a halt when the Food and Drug Administration determined it was unsafe and banned it from the market.

The pre-workout ban happened several years ago, but I still get asked questions about if DMAA is as bad as it seems.

I did some research, and here is what I found about the effects of DMAA, why it’s not on the market anymore, and what you can use as a DMAA pre-workout alternative.

Quick Summary

  • DMAA pre workouts are supplements that contain dimethylamylamine, which boosts individuals' energy levels.
  • FDA banned DMAA pre-workouts because they were linked with cardiovascular conditions like shortness of breath.
  • DMAA pre workouts improved an individual's strength and energy levels but had numerous side effects.
  • A fraction of people using the DMAA pre workouts complained of tightening in the chest before they were banned.

What Is DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine)?


DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine) is a stimulant initially made as a nasal decongestant.

It eventually found its way to pre-workout supplements as DMAA became famous for its adrenaline-boosting energy.

Despite the boost in pre-workout energy levels, the side effects eventually caused concern.

In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration started issuing warnings to companies that had a dietary product containing DMAA.

​They considered it a health risk to consumers and have actively been working to remove DMAA products [1].

Is DMAA Illegal?

DMAA pre-workouts became illegal to use in a dietary product in April 2013 [2]. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) argued that DMAA led to an increase in blood pressure and cause other cardiovascular problems like shortness of breath or cause a heart attack.

The potential adverse effects of DMAA became a more significant health risk when combined with other stimulants.

Caffeine is often in pre-workout products, which is a potentially dangerous situation in combination with DMAA stimulants.

Even though DMAA is illegal in pre-workout products, it’s possible to find them on the market still. They are either marketed illegally or are made abroad with different standards.

See our list of top cafeine-free pre-workout supplements.

What Does DMAA Pre-Workout Do To The Body?

The FDA lists the following as potential side effects of pre-workout supplements containing DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine):

  • Narrow blood vessels and arteries
  • Increase blood pressure
  • Arrhythmias (Irregular heartbeat or increased/decreased heart rate)
  • Tightening in the chest
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath

​Watch the video for more DMAA information.


Why Is DMAA In Pre-Workouts?

man drinking

Once upon a time, DMAA was labeled as a “natural stimulant.” The effects of the best DMAA pre-workout products included results like improved focus, increased energy levels, and better gym performance.

There were also claims it could be a weight loss supplement in pre-workouts. The increase in heart rate and blood pressure caused the body temperature to warm, which could lead to fat loss.

DMAA also sounds a lot like other ingredients you might find in a few pre-workouts. Over time, it started creating problems.

​Reports came in of severe side effects with the best DMAA pre-workout supplements. The stimulant was linked to causing poor cardiovascular effects in people and was possibly fatal.

The reports were enough to make the FDA concerned about the safety of the best DMAA pre-workout products. The federal agency banned any dietary supplement containing DMAA.

Currently, commercial pre-workout supplements are already completely DMAA-free. They contain specific ingredients that are safe to consume as pump-inducing pre-workouts.

Before marketing products containing DMAA, manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility under the law to provide evidence of the safety of their products. They haven’t done that, and that makes the products adulterated
- Daniel Fabricant Director of FDA’s Dietary Supplement Program

What Are DMAA Alternatives?

The good news is that several DMAA pre-workout alternative options have the same positive results but without the negative health consequences.

When choosing a DMAA pre-workout alternative, read product labels, examine ingredients, and speak with a healthcare professional to ensure you choose a pre-workout supplement that corresponds with your fitness goals and promotes overall well-being.

Let’s take a look at popular ingredients in available pre-workouts:



Caffeine is the holy grail for boosting your energy and performance levels in pre-workouts.

Even though you might get your caffeine dosage from an espresso, you’ll get a much higher amount by opting for a pre-workout drink instead of coffee.

Caffeine in pre-workouts has an impact on brain function, including memory, mood, and reaction times.

If you’re looking for weight loss, then caffeine can help with that too. It can boost your metabolism rates and burn fat faster [3].

On the other hand, if your body reacts negatively to caffeine, there are caffeine-free options that you can take advantage of.


Synephrine is in plants like bitter orange. It has the potential to increase your metabolic rate and fat burning.

Research shows that the combination of caffeine and synephrine in pre-workouts allows higher chances of fat burning even while at rest [4].


Theacrine is a stimulant that has recently gained popularity in DMAA pre-workout and fat burner supplements. The more potent version is known as “TeaCrine.”

Theacrine has limited studies supporting its health benefits, but so far, it’s been positive. Research shows it could help improve energy, focus, and motivation [5].

What Should I Look For In A DMAA Pre-Workout?

I have a few tips on what you should look for in a DMAA pre-workout. Here’s what I learned about protecting yourself from potentially harmful pre-workout supplements.

1. Always Investigate The DMAA Pre-Workout Ingredient List

magnifying glass on ingredients

When I research pre-workout supplements, the first item I look at is the ingredient list in my pre-workout. Even when the names are long and intimidating, I take the time to figure out what I’m consuming.

I also check to see what artificial ingredients exist. I’m personally not a fan of anything that contains artificial sweeteners or dyes, which is an unfortunately common ingredient in DMAA pre-workouts.

Finally, I look for filler ingredients. Sometimes companies add an extract that they swear is magic, but it often doesn’t do anything for the body.

2. Avoid Proprietary DMAA Pre-Workout Blends

There’s not a lot of regulation surrounding formula transparency. Proprietary blends don’t require companies the exact pre-workout ingredient amount, so I get left in the dark about if I’m getting the correct dosage or not.

A DMAA pre-workout with a proprietary blend could have the best and highest-quality ingredients, but if it’s not at the correct dosage, then I won’t get the results.

I tend to avoid pre-workout brands with proprietary blends due to the lack of transparency.

3. Check The Pre-Workout Dosage

Measuring wright in a cup

The third item I look for is that I’m getting the correct dosage of ingredients in a DMAA pre-workout supplement.

It may sound super impressive to get a massive amount of creatine in your pre-workout, but if you only need a small amount, then it’s a waste of money.

The same goes for under-dosed ingredients. If I’m not getting the correct amount to make a difference, then there’s no point in buying the pre-workout product.

Here are the DMAA-free pre-workouts you can opt for instead:


Will DMAA Pre-workout Products Fail A Drug Test?

DMAA pre-workout products could cause you to fail a drug test. Research shows that DMAA pre-workouts could lead to false positives for amphetamines [6].

Athletic organizations have banned amphetamines in the strongest pre-workouts and other supplements. If you’re an athlete or anyone who gets subjected to drug testing, then you will want to avoid DMAA.

​What Ingredients Should I Look Out For To Avoid DMAA Pre-Workout Supplements?

There are multiple ingredient variations that you should look out for to avoid DMAA pre-workouts. Here are some possible name variations:

  • Geranamine
  • Methylhexanamine
  • Methylhexaneamine
  • Geranium Extract
  • 1,3-DMAA
  • 1,3-Dimethylamylamine
  • 1,3-Dimethylpentylamine
  • 2-Amino-4-methylhexane
  • 2-Hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI)
  • 4-Methyl-2-hexanamine
  • 4-Methyl-2-hexylamine
  • Dimethylamylamine

I know it’s not fun to investigate every ingredient in a pre-workout supplement, but it’s worth the effort to avoid potentially harmful components.

Just Avoid It, OK?

A dietary supplement containing DMAA is not considered safe, even in the best DMAA pre-workout supplement. The adverse effects of blood pressure and cardiovascular issues are hard to ignore.

You should take extra precautions to avoid consuming it and check the label for ingredients.

There are plenty of other DMAA pre-workout alternative options that you can use that don’t have such severe adverse effects. Pre-workout products can help boost your energy and support your muscles without needing DMAA.

You can check our list of recommended pre-workout both for men and women:

What is your favorite pre-workout product?

Do you have any tips to ensure that you are getting what you need from supplementation?

We would love to hear from you in the comments!


  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.​​​​
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2 thoughts on “What Is DMAA Pre-Workout? The Benefits, Side Effects, & Dangers

  1. There are a lot of best DMAA pre-workout articles out there. Glad that I found this article and warned about its safety.

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