If you have been into sports nutritional supplements for a while, you must have heard about, and possibly used, a pre-workout supplement called Jack3D. A few years ago, this powder formula by USPlabs was the best-selling pre-workout supplement in the United States and other countries, but sadly the product had to be discontinued for the reasons we’ll discuss below.
The original Jack3D formula consisted of a few simple ingredients: arginine, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, caffeine and schisandra chinensis extract. All of these are pretty common ingredients that can be found in most pre-workout formulations…but wait, there is still one more ingredient, the one that actually made a big difference, and that is 1,3-Dimethylamylamine HCl.
It was clear that 1,3-Dimethylamylamine HCl — which is also known as Methylhexanamine, or simply DMAA — was the most potent ingredient in the original Jack3D formula and the reason why it was such a popular product. It simply worked!
The Damned DMAA
Although some forms of DMAA can be found in certain plants, this isn’t quite a dietary supplement, but a synthetic drug that was initially developed by Eli Lilly as a nasal decongestant (it’s no longer used for this purpose).
DMAA also has a potent stimulant effect, although its exact mechanism of action has not been fully understood due to the lack of clinical studies on its pharmacological effects. Many pre-workout supplements that were marketed as natural and safe used DMAA in their formula, and one of the most popular brands that did so was Jack3D.
The only problem was, USPlabs didn’t warn consumers that DMAA is neither natural nor safe! Despite its effectiveness as a stimulant, DMAA has been reported to cause some serious side effects, including high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Long story short, the FDA banned the use of DMAA in dietary supplements, USPlabs were sued and eventually they decided to discontinue the production of the original Jack3D supplement.
The New Jack3D Formula with DMHA
The product has been reformulated and relaunched a couple of times, and the latest Jack3D formula contains almost all of the ingredients found in the original formula, except that DMAA was replaced with three new ingredients:
- 2-Aminoisoheptane HCl, aka DMHA: This compound is structurally similar to DMAA and it has a similar stimulant effect, although a weaker one. It also comes with the same potential side effects that include high blood pressure and increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
- Geranium extract: It is claimed that the plant geranium naturally contains DMAA or compounds similar to it, however, this has not been scientifically proven, and if it does contain DMAA, it is unknown if it has any significant content to produce a noticeable effect. The DMAA that is used in supplements is synthetically created in labs.
- Yohimbe extract: Yohimbe is a plant that is known to contain a potent stimulant compound called yohimbine. This substance is often used as a performance enhancer, weight loss aid, and aphrodisiac (especially for men with ED). Yohimbe has been linked to a few side effects, including high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and others. Some people are more sensitive to this herb than others.
The FDA Strikes Again!
Once many manufacturers started marketing DMHA as a replacement for DMAA, it didn’t take long for the FDA to stick their nose in it!
Just like with DMAA, the FDA ruled that DMHA does not qualify as a dietary supplement, and they sent out a bunch of warning letters to manufacturers who use this ingredient in their products.
I’m not sure if USPlabs are waiting to get their own warning letter from the FDA, but it looks like they will soon have to discontinue the current formula and come up with a new one yet once again.
Until that happens, if you would like to give Jack3D (with DMHA) a shot, keeping in mind the potential side effects discussed above, you can find it at a couple of online stores.
The current formula is not as powerful as the old original one used to be, but it’s among the most powerful stimulant-based pre-workouts that are still available on the market.