The dietary supplement Craze, advertised as “performance fuel,” may have an extra illegal kick to it.
A new study, published in Drug Testing and Analysis, found a compound similar to methamphetamine in Craze.
According to its label, Craze contains the compound N,N-DEPEA and claims that the compound comes from dendrobium orchids.
However, no proof exists that this compound is found in orchids, and it is structurally very similar to the banned substance N,alpha-DEPEA — a methamphetamine analogue, the researchers said.
It appears Craze’s reviews on bodybuilding.com might support the scientific findings. Reviewer arnoldelis said “the effects were amazing i flet like beating the living sh** out of everyone.” Review kmarcus 62 said “This stuff will make you feel like The Hulk.”
The investigation into Craze began when several athletes using the supplement failed to pass urine sample drug tests. The team of scientists led by Pieter Cohen from Harvard Medical School tested three different samples of Craze, one from a U.S. retailer, and two samples ordered online from companies in the U.S. and Holland.
Cohen and his team used high-performance liquid chromatography — a technique that separates out each molecular component of a substance like Craze — and found over 20 mg per serving of N,alpha-DEPEA. According to Cohen, this means it’s likely that the presence of the compound is not because of an accidental contamination.
According to a press release from the journal, N,alpha-DEPEA is a banned substance because it is a methamphetamine analogue, which means it’s likely to have the same kind of hyperactive effects and addictive qualities as methamphetamine. But the compound has never been tested in humans, and according to the scientific paper, “its stimulant, addictive, and other adverse effects in humans are entirely unknown.”
Side effects of the compound are also unknown because it has never been tested in humans, but the scientists recommend that if the FDA confirms their results, all supplements containing this compound should be taken off the market.
The discovery of banned substances in dietary supplements is fairly common, but the government shutdown could mean that the potentially harmful Craze stays widely available to the public. Dietary supplements aren’t FDA-approved before they go on the market, and until the government is re-opened, the FDA won’t be reviewing any new claims about supplements.
“If these findings are confirmed by regulatory authorities, the FDA must take action to warn consumers and to remove supplements containing N,α-DEPEA from sale,” Cohen said in the press release. “Our fear is that the federal shutdown may delay this, resulting in potentially dangerous supplements remaining widely available.”
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