Two soldiers died after taking Jack3d, a potentially dangerous workout booster sold by retailers like GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe. Experts claim that flawed regulatory oversight has allowed the supplement to remain on store shelves without proper warnings.
Jack3d (pronounced "Jacked") is a powdered workout stimulant that marketers claim "produces an intense sensation of drive, focus, energy, motivation, and awareness." However, federal health regulators warn that Jack3d contains a product, dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that can raise blood pressure and heart rate and lead to heart attacks.
Dietary supplements like Jack3d aren't subject to an FDA approval process because they are considered "natural" products. However, DMAA was developed by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and one official claims it is a "…pharmaceutical-grade product… directly introduced into the supplement marketplace…" Furthermore, researchers say they have no evidence that DMAA is a qualified dietary ingredient or that it can be used safely.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received 60 reports of health issues stemming from products containing DMAA. Regulators say these reports do not prove that the stimulant alone is causing health problems, but the FDA issued a warning in April 2012 to Jack3d's marketers about the potential dangers associated with the product.
A lawsuit filed by the parents of one of the soldiers who died after using Jack3d claims that companies deceptively market the product as an effective and safe workout booster while not mentioning the potential side effects and health hazards. The United States Army has since removed all products containing DMAA from retailers located on military bases.