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Hidden Amphetamine-like Ingredient Found in Weight Loss Pills

Tim Boyer's picture
Weight Loss Pill Risk

Health experts are warning consumers that your weight loss pills may actually contain a hidden amphetamine-like ingredient. Read on to discover what ingredient name is being used to disguise this potentially harmful substance found in many weight loss products.


According to a recent study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, an amphetamine-like compound called β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA) was discovered to be present in relatively significant doses in 11 out of 21 weight loss supplements tested. Furthermore, none listed "BMPEA" on their label, but rather, used the cover name of “Acacia rigidula” to convince consumers that they were buying an all-natural supplement believed to have fat burning and appetite suppressing properties.

Acacia rigidula―also known as “Vachellia rigidula” or “Blackbrush Acacia”―is a shrub native to Texas and Mexico that historically is believed to contain compounds that promotes both fat burning and appetite suppression. Due to this belief in its weight loss properties, some makers of weight loss products are reportedly using this natural shrub’s name as a cover name for the not-so-natural synthetically designed compound that can cause an amphetamine-like rush of increased energy.

However, many health experts worry that a rush from BMPEA―like amphetamines―can cause serious health effects like drug addiction, stroke and/or a heart attack.

CBS News Report on the Problem

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Just how unsafe BMPEA is remains unclear. Early animal studies note that BMPE causes an unsafe rise in blood pressure and heart rate in dogs and cats. And, while the USFDA is looking into the safety of BMPEA, other similar agencies in Canada and Europe have already banned the ingredient.

The researchers who identified the presence of BMPEA in the study concluded that because there is a lack of evidence demonstrating that BMPEA is safe to consume that, “The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements.”

For more about potentially unsafe weight loss supplements, here is an informative article about what you need to know about water pills for weight loss.


An amphetamine isomer whose efficacy and safety in humans has never been studied, β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), is found in multiple dietary supplements” Drug Testing and Analysis, Article first published online: 7 APR 2015; Pieter A. Cohen et al.

CBS News― “Synthetic stimulants found in weight loss products