Nutritional Medicine , Separating Fact from Fiction
“OxyElite Pro is a fat burning supplement sold by USP Labs. Until 2013 it contained DMAA, an illegal stimulant drug linked to cardiac arrest, liver failures and death. After it was reformulated with more unapproved ingredients, it was linked to a deadly outbreak of liver damage. In February of 2015 the FDA lab tested the antidepressant Prozac in Oxyelite Pro”.
Schmidt Law Firm
Questions from a curious public started pouring in from all over the globe about this supplement that many have heard about, or know it by different names but with the same offending chemical –DMAA, technically 1, 3 dimethyamylamine. A few years back a weight loss supplement called Oxy-Elite Pro came to the forefront of the Food and Drug Association’s (FDA) attention due to over 100 reports across 16 states of hepatic and cardiovascular complications, transplants, and even death. These reports were traced back to Oxyelite Pro and the DMAA it contained. The product was reported as being recalled by the FDA.
This same weight loss supplement, after remarketing, was reported as containing DMAA hidden under various names related to the geranium plant, and were caught again. The company took out DMAA, or seemingly worked out its legal issues, and replaced DMAA with Higenamine. At first blush, this appeared to be a safer alternative. However, after researching Medline and google scholar it was shocking to find that higenamine had not been orally tested on humans, only rabbits, until a small and poorly designed study in 2013.
We have nothing to guide us to therapeutic amounts of Higenamine, toxic amounts, side-effects, drug-interactions. We do know Higenamine acts as a blood thinner, anti-inflammatory, has been known to deplete dopamine levels and acts in a similar manner as ephedrine and synephrine. Anyone up for a drug interaction???
Whether counterfeit or not (as some dubiously claim), it doesn’t stop there. The FDA announced in February of 2015 that Prozac, a prescription antidepressant, had been found in international shipments of Oxyelite Pro. Prozac is a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor or an SSRI. If someone takes another SSRI and is already on an SSRI from their doctor, a life-threatening condition called Serotonin Syndrome may develop.
What does this fascination with Oxyelite Pro mean to RDs? We need to be diligent in teaching our fellow clinicians about this product and the chemical names causing problems and why.
Now there is the question of scope of problem. How many people with chronic illnesses get worse or even die from taking products made by companies that just can’t seem to get it right? What do we do if our opinion is asked? How many clinicians have the time to go to google scholar, Medline, Natural Standards Database, and the FDA webpage to answer a question?
Researching products for customers is very time consuming and costly to the clinician. Look towards resources to help expedite the provision of accurate information to consumers such as from Examine.com or Natural Standard Comprehensive Database, Google Scholar, FDA. A recent FDA release on Oxyelite Pro may be found at
Contrary to some misconceptions, RDs can recommend supplements. In fact RDs credentialed by their employers can order diets, lab tests, supplements and IV TPN solutions. Many do anyway as it is in our scope of practice and depends on the RDs level of competency and skills.
It doesn’t seem like anyone else out there is assigned this job or volunteered for it. What is it, everyone is on their own in a multibillion dollar industry wandering around without a clue about what they take in a supplement? Or people with a little information but lacking the complexity of human biochemistry causing more harm than good because their training is absent to poor? Supplements fall within the realm of nutritional medicine and those documented as being trained in this field, such as Registered Dietitians.
Queries regarding its use are still coming in from Asia, so it is still in circulation. How widespread is unknown at this time.
I am posting this again as apparently oxelite is still being sold and continues to be an ongoing issue of concern. Please consult a health care provider as this supplement has a history with being banned, pulled from the market and causing health complications.