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Phenphedrine is marketed as a weight-loss product. Where can I go to get information about this dietary supplement?

Question from the Field

Can you please tell me what you know about the supplement Phenphedrine? As I recall you had a great website in which a person could type the name of the supplement, and it would rate it as good, fair, or bad  (something like that). Could you please include that site with what you know about Phenphedrine?

HPRC's Answer


Phenphedrine is marketed as a weight-loss product, and according to the manufacturer’s website, it will “burn more fat.” Phenphedrine contains multiple ingredients including herbs, caffeine, and chromium picolinate. Also, Phenphedrine contains the ingredient 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), also referred to as methylhexaneamine or MHA, dimethylpentylamine (DMP or 4-methylhexan-2-amine), Geranamine, and geranium oil, extract, or stems and leaves. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Athletic Advisory contains important information about products containing methylhexaneamine, a prohibited stimulant. Caution is advised when considering use of Phenphedrine; DMAA/MHA is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, collegiate sports teams, and most professional sports teams; it has been declared a drug in Canada; and weight loss and sports performance products containing DMAA are now banned in New Zealand.

The product also contains caffeine, which is included on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list as a substance “generally recognized as safe.” The FDA has established a maximum concentration for caffeine in cola beverages of 32.4 mg per 6 oz or 71 mg per 12 oz. However, other than in colas, the caffeine content of food and beverages is not regulated. The manufacturer’s label states there is 125 mg of dicaffeine malate (which is about 95 mg of caffeine), 125 mg of caffeine anhydrous, and an unknown amount from green tea in each capsule of Phenphedrine, so if you are taking the maximum recommended dose of three capsules/day, you are likely consuming more than 660 mg of caffeine from this product alone. According to scientific evidence, a fatal, acute oral dose of caffeine is estimated to be 150-200 mg/kg bodyweight, which translates to approximately 10-14 grams for the average person.  However, sensitivity to caffeine differs as a function of genetics, which has not been addressed from a toxicity perspective. Also, limited evidence is available on the toxicity of caffeine in combination with the multiple and diverse ingredients in this and other dietary supplement products. For more information on caffeine, read the monograph in HPRC’s Dietary Supplement Classification System series.

To help answer your question, visit the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, where you can learn more about how to make informed decisions on dietary supplements and natural products. The HPRC has made this user-friendly database readily available to all active-duty personnel through links on its website; a “.mil” email address is required to create an account. We encourage consumers of dietary supplements to consider only using products rated eight or above on their rating scale. These are in the green area of the scale and have evidence of safety. Items in the yellow range mean that data are lacking. The red area indicates there are well-known safety concerns and/or proven ineffectiveness. NMCD provides information suitable for both Warfighters and healthcare professionals. Choose the appropriate version and follow the instructions to create an account. Once you have established an account, log in and type “Phenphedrine” in the search box, and a list of products will appear.

Note that Phenphedrine has an NMCD rating of “1,” putting it in the red zone, which indicates there are serious concerns about its safety and effectiveness. It is also important to note that interactions may occur, especially if you are taking multiple products with multiple ingredients. We also encourage you to read about caffeine in NMCD and its adverse effects due to excessive amounts.