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Companies Put This Banned Ingredient in Their Weight Loss Workout Supplements

Tim Boyer's picture
Weight loss supplement warning

Are you taking a weight loss workout supplement that contains a banned ingredient? You could very well be, according to a new study that found many supplement makers are using a banned ingredient legal in some countries, but illegal in the U.S. and not allowed for athletes involved in sport competitions.


According to a new study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, researchers have determined that many weight loss and workout supplements sold in the U.S. contain a potentially dangerous ingredient called “Methylsynephrine,” which is also known as the pharmaceutical stimulant “Oxilofrine” or “p-hydroxyephedrine.”

Although the drug is legal by prescription in some countries being used to treat patients with low blood pressure, the danger behind using this ingredient is that it can cause dangerously high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate in healthy individuals. This health risk is especially relevant when the ingredient is added to supplements in dangerous dosage levels that the consumer may not be aware of that could lead to overdosing.

According to the findings of the researchers, from an analysis of 27 brands of supplements that were labeled as containing methylsynephrine, 14 different brands (52%) contained dosages ranging from 0.0003 to 75 mg per individual serving. Of those found to contain methylsynephrine, 43% (6/14) contained pharmaceutical or greater dosages. Where it is legal for prescription use, the amount of drug prescribed ranges in dosages of 16 to 40 mg to stimulate the heart and increase blood pressure.

Furthermore, the researchers pointed out that by following the instructions on the label of some of the products, consumers could ingest as much as 250 mg of the banned ingredient per day. And in fact, earlier research has shown that some supplements have been found to contain not only methylsynephrine, but also an ingredient called “DMBA” that increases blood pressure as well, thereby further increasing the health risk of a consumer.

So what is the U.S.’s drug regulatory agency the FDA doing about it? Not as much as some would like; however, the FDA has recently sent letters of warning to several makers of the supplements that include the following companies:

• Nutraclipse, Inc.

• Swagger Supps

• Total Body Nutrition, LLC
• Xcel Sports Nutrition, LLC

• M4 Nutrition Companies, LLC

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• Line One Nutrition, Inc.

• Chaotic Labz

The letters of warning advised the makers of the tested products that the inclusion of methylsynephrine in their products does not meet the legal definition of a dietary supplement and therefore are in violation of U.S. laws.

According to the FDA, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines a dietary ingredient as a vitamin; mineral; herb or other botanical; amino acid; dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of the preceding substances.

Since methylsynephrine does not fit under any of these categories, the companies are guilty of misbranding—which is where the FDA can take legal action against the supplement makers. According to the FDA, the warning letters grant the companies 15 business days from the date of receipt of the letter to respond to the FDA with the specific steps they will take to bring their products into compliance with the law.

Consumers who take any weight loss or workout supplements are advised to check the labels of their supplements for wording such as “Methylsynephrine” and “Oxilofrine,” but be aware that this is no guarantee of safety. Many supplements do not contain complete ingredient listing on their labels, or try to get around the law by claiming “all natural ingredients” such as these 12 potentially dangerous weight loss supplements revealed in an earlier study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.


Pharmaceutical doses of the banned stimulant oxilofrine found in dietary supplements sold in the USADrug Testing and Analysis, Article first published online: 7 APR 2016; Pieter A. Cohen et al.

FDA.gov “Methylsynephrine in Dietary Supplements

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