Supplement ingredients banned

16 October 2017

Common supplement ingredients DMBA and DMHA, which are prohibited in sport, have in effect been banned by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) due to risks to human health.

As a result, the use, supply or sale of DMBA and DMHA in Australia is prohibited, which includes supplement manufacturers and suppliers.

The ingredients were previously found in several common supplements sold on Australian shelves.

ASADA CEO David Sharpe said: “DMBA has been detected in nine athlete samples in the last year, believed to have been ingested through nutritional supplements, so this is a very significant decision.”

ASADA wanted the ingredient banned in order to protect athletes’ health and also prevent cases of inadvertent doping.

The effects of DMBA and DMHA in humans have not been fully studied or clinically evaluated. However, DMBA is a stimulant similar in structure to DMAA, which contributed to a number of deaths in Australia and overseas, and caused side effects including cerebral haemorrhage and heart attacks. It was subsequently banned by the TGA in 2012.

Importantly, the recent TGA ban is broad enough to include not only DMBA and DMHA, but any other substances with a similar structure. This prevents companies tweaking the chemical structure slightly to bypass the law, which maintaining the same biological effect.

ASADA had previously issued two athlete warnings on DMBA, however detections of the substance continued.

Mr Sharpe said: “A key focus of ASADA is to protect Australian athletes from the threat of doping. We hope this decision leads to an almost immediate stop in athletes testing positive to this substance.”

“The TGA’s decision means a safer supplement industry for the health of all Australians, and a safer industry for athletes at risk of testing positive.”

ASADA has similar concerns about a number of other substances found in common supplements, and will continue to work with its partners to help protect clean athletes.

In the meantime, ASADA maintains its warning for athletes about the risk of using supplements in sport: