New year, new stimulant? You bet your ass!
In the wake of the removal of other popular stimulants over the past few years, a battle has raged to fill the void left by the ingredients now gone. The supplement industry is still struggling to replace DMAA, whose fate will be decided in court this year and currently only Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is selling.
Today we look at the latest stimulant, initially (yet incorrectly) labeled as 2-aminoisoheptane. It definitely looks like the “next big thing” in 2016.
Where does this ingredient fit into this new era of stimulants, and how does it work?
This post was most recently updated on February 15, 2015, to distinguish between the two different stimulants that fall under the name 2-aminoisoheptane.
Updated March 22, 2016: This post now reflects DMHA’s basis in nature!
This is actually a set of two different DMAA-like stimulants that we consider to be ~80% the effects of DMAA at appropriate doses.
They works in the same fashion: by boosting dopamine and noradrenaline uptake, while slowing down reuptake just long enough for a solid workout or study session.
- There two versions are named
- 2-amino-6-methylheptane, and
This article primarily focuses on the first one (with a 6, or ‘hex’).
We’re officially calling it DMHA for short here (as proposed by Bruce Kneller of Giant Sports).
You’ll also see it as 2-Aminoisoheptane, but that is a vague name that doesn’t distinguish which of the above two compounds you’re getting. Other names are Octodrine, 2-amino-6-methylheptane, 6-methylheptan-2-amine, and 1,5-Dimethylhexylamine (hence DMHA).
Dose: for DMHA, 100-150mg orally seems to be the sweet spot, comparable to 35-50mg DMAA, but still a bit weaker. For the more potent 2-amino-5-methylheptane, ~75mg is said to be closer to the sweet spot.
The DMHA version feels terrific but isn’t overwhelming. We expect to see doses ranging from 50mg-250mg, but won’t be going any higher than that in a 24 hour period. Read our early review here.
DMHA Supplements on the market: The current featured products are the Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 pre workout (powder) or the RedCon1 Double Tap fat burner (pills or powder), but more are on their way out.
Side Effects: There is no long-term safety research, although it fared very well in several animals (including mammals), and has an incredibly high oral LD50 in rats.
This class of compounds is less intense than amphetamine, and has far better safety parameters in animals. See the animal research discussing this. It’s also speculated that this will increase blood pressure, but we predict the rise will be less than that of DMAA.
Legality: FDA compliance issues are diminished due to it passing the FDA DSHEA “glance test”, although compliance can never be guaranteed. It is found in nature in the Kigelia Africana fruit.
There is bigger concern that it will be turned into a prescription drug for its antibacterial and antifungal properties!
This post links to everything we could find on this stimulant.
Updated June 5, 2017: Australia is set to ban DMHA on October 1, 2017!
Rather watch and listen than read? See our DMHA Video!
A shortened version of this article is now on YouTube below:
What is 2-aminoisoheptane / 2-amino-6?
This article primarily focuses on the ‘6’ version, or DMHA, due to it being the lower-cost one that’s currently on the market and has more research behind it.
Another names for this version is octodrine. We prefer DMHA, which is short for another of its names, 1,5-Dimethylhexylamine. If you see it labeled as 2-aminoisoheptane, you honestly don’t know what exact compound you’re getting, but it’s most likely 2-amino-6 due to lower cost.
This class of stimulants was first released in a supplement in 2013, and we’re now confident it was the 2-amino-5 version back then, but it was quickly removed from the market. In late 2015 and early 2016, however, the similar 2-amino-6 re-appeared in some pre workout supplements and fat burners, and looks to be the latest stimulant du-jour.
This time seems different, however, as there seem to be less FDA DSHEA compliance issues, and its potency is “just right” for a vast array of supplement users and stimulant-lovers alike. It has both the feel, the focus, and the performance-enhancing effect that so many athletes, students, and even programmers enjoy.
The proper labeling for this is most likely 2-amino-6-methylheptane or 2-amino-6-methylheptane HCl, not aconitum.
How it Works: The effect of 2-Aminoisoheptane / DMHA
Because of the similarities, we can hypothesize how DMHA may exert its effects, however, until more human research is conducted on the compound, emphasis is placed on hypothetical — yet backed up with anecdotal feedback and animal studies discussed below.
Disclaimer: For healthy, experienced users only!
Immediately we must note that this stimulant is for advanced, experienced, and more aggressive users. If you need tons of proven long-term human safety research before using a new ingredient, this is not for you.
But if you know that you like a little bit of extra “feel” to your day, have enjoyed DMAA and/or AMP Citrate in the past, and have a clean bill of health and a physician’s approval, and are not on any prescription drugs, then keep reading:
The first point of interest is that 2-aminoisoheptane’s structural relations are known as monoamine releasing agents, which are compounds that have the capability of increasing levels of certain monoamines.[3,4] These monoamines, most notably dopamine and norepinephrine, are responsible for exerting many of the common effects that stimulants produce – including enhanced euphoria and wakefulness (alertness), respectively.
In order for a compound to act as a releasing agent, the compounds must be structurally and metabolically related to the classical monoamine neurotransmitters.[3,4] In the case of DMAA and its structural relatives like DMHA, they share this structure and are able to release both dopamine and norepinephrine through activation of trace amine associated receptor 1, while temporarily preventing their reuptake into the presynaptic nerve. This stops their ability to bind to target receptors, keeping dopamine and norepinephrine active longer, thereby producing the stimulant-like effect that we all know and love.[3,4,6]
The real trick is finding stimulants that do this mildly – not too long, not too strong. DMAA and DHMA are nearly perfect for these purposes – they’re structurally sound, but not so strong that they can’t be detached by our body’s enzymes. This is due to the structure:
The second common denominator between these three stimulants (DMAA, DMHA, and AMP Citrate) is the addition of a methyl group on the alpha carbon. This addition has three primary effects which are responsible for how the compound will behave within the body. They are:
The methyl group acts to limit the effect of monoamine oxidase (MAO), which are a family of enzymes that break down monoamines. By interfering with MAO’s ability to breakdown the monoamines, the half life of DMHA should be of decent length, however we have no specific evidence pertaining to this compound.
But be careful of this statement. As alluded to above, we don’t want to block MAO for too long, otherwise things start to get real hairy real fast. Case in point: when you have two methyl groups positioned on an amphetamine molecule, you get a drug we all know by the name of methamphetamine, which has disastrous effects.
When it comes to stimulants, too much is never a good thing.
The second benefit of the methyl group is that it increases the amphiphilic nature of the compound — this is where it has both a hydrophilic end and a hydrophobic end. Translation in plain English: a “water-loving” end and a “water-fearing” end, respectively.
Increasing a compound’s lipid solubility dramatically increases its ability to pass through the blood brain barrier where it is able to exert its focus-enhancing and euphoric effects.[8,9]
The third benefit of the added methyl group is that it increases the compound’s affinity for the catecholamine transporters, thus decreasing the reuptake of norepinephrine and epinephrine.
The more catecholamines that are free to interact with target transporters, the greater the effect of the stimulant. The greater the reuptake, the less catecholamines that are able to interact with target transporters and thus a decreased stimulant effect.[8,9]
We must urge you that there’s a lot more at play here, so don’t start looking for random stimulants with methyl groups in them. Most fail for one reason or another, but a handful of them exert the right amount of effects for the right amount of time.
Like DMAA, DMHA / 2-amino-6-methylheptane seems to hit the sweet spot in our testing so far.
Classified as a decongestant:
Further similarities: Drug suppliers categorize it as a decongestant. This is exactly how DMAA and ephedrine both started out as well, and also in roughly the same historical timeframe.
In fact, when searching for 2-amino-6-methylheptane, we found that the compound was used as the main active ingredient in Eskays Oralator, which was an inhalant designed to help provide relief for coughs and colds back in the 1950s. The Smithsonian states that each dose was 350mg – more than we recommend in a 24 hour period!
We’re not sure what happened to that drug, but it seems to have lost favor due to the rise of ephedrine at the time. Although still legal, we can’t have ephedrine in supplements (a long story you can read in our massive ephedra post some day), so that’s led us on a decade-long search for the next best thing.
The classification as a decongestant and previous use as a bronchodilator leads us to wonder how that came to be.
Bruce Kneller of Giant Sports also states the following:
The literature would tell me that most of the peripheral effects of 2AIH are going to be alpha1-adrenergic in scope. This probably means most people will notice vasoconstriction and mydriasis – it may also make you feel sweaty and may affect urination. — Bruce Kneller, Giant Sports International
Mydriasis is the dilation of the pupils. Animal research discussed below shows that it did not affect urination though. Many alpha-1 adrenergics also widen breathing passages.
The above part is a bit of conjecture though. Let’s turn to what we know from the past animal studies:
Animal Research from the 1940s and 1950s
In 1952, a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology briefly states the following:
Charlier (1951) showed that the respirations of dogs under chloralose were stimulated by 2-amino-6-methylheptane and that the stimulation lasted for more than sixty minutes. –D. E. Hutcheon (emphasis ours)
The chloralose mentioned above is used as a sedative and anesthetic in animals, and DMHA stimulated them for a solid duration of time.
The 1952 study cited above was published about octylamines, a related group of compounds. One of the compounds it focuses on is 2-aminoheptane, or tuaminoheptane, which we mentioned in our intro above since it’s a close relative to DMHA (2-aminoisoheptane) here.
In the study, the authors concluded that this related group of compounds had a similar mechanism of action (MOA) of amphetamine, yet less stimulant and cardiovascular activity. Those compounds had nearly as long of a duration time, while being less toxic and having “better” (higher) LD50s.
This type of compound almost exactly what we’re looking for – but note that the scientists were primarily discussing the related octylamines, not DMHA itself. We’re getting close, though.
Digging Deeper: Finding DMHA’s Pharmacological Research
Looking back at the 1951 Charlier study that they reference, which was in the Archives internationales de pharmacodynamie et de thérapie (Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther), we currently run into a dead end and cannot find this paper. We’d love to find it since it’s titled “Pharmacology of 2-amino-6-methyl-heptane” – nearly exactly what we want to see.
What’s really special about DMHA is that there is absolute, virtually irrefutable data to show it is found in nature in something that has a long, pre-1994 history of being eaten as a foodstuff. — Bruce Kneller, Giant Sports
The good news is that we fare better with a different study of that same name (“The pharmacology of 2-amino-6-methylheptane”) that was published in 1947 in The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. PubMed has no abstract, but the journal itself does, and from the full text, we can learn the following:
DMHA increased the pain threshold in cats. It has local analgesic properties – and this also worked as an anesthetic in rabbit eyes!
When given to dogs intravenously, “2-amino-6-methylheptane hydrochloride exhibited 1/500-1/1000 the pressor activity of epinephrine“ — pressor activity means the ability to raise blood pressure.
Note that epinephrine is a potent pressor (for instance, in humans, just 50ng per kg per minute administration to healthy men raises systolic blood pressure by 17), so more investigation is needed here.
2-amino-6-methylheptane HCl does increase cardiac rate
Intravenous use in dogs had no detectable effect on the small intestine, detrusor of the urinary bladder, urine secretion, nor respiration.
Intravenous LD50 toxicities are listed below:
- Mice: 59mg/kg
- Rats: 41.5mg/kg
- Rabbits: 44mg/kg
- Guinea pigs: 39mg/kg
Remember, that’s for intravenous use. Oral LD50s are far, far higher (538mg/kg in rats). Also note that their sample sizes were relatively low and they had to interpolate some of this data, so it’s not perfect.
Autopsies after non-lethal 30-day large doses
“Large” doses were given for 30 days to rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. The researchers then removed tissue and found that they could not find any demonstrable damage.
These larger month-long doses went as follows:
- Rats: 20mg/kg injected
- Rats: 75 or 100mg/kg daily oral administrations
- Guinea Pigs: 20 or 25mg/kg injected
- Rabbits: 20mg/kg injected
Those are all seriously high doses – the injections were roughly half of the LD50s – yet tissue damage in heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, intestine, stomach, brain, and spinal cord could not be found.
Interestingly, the rats orally ingesting those extremely high doses became depressed. Too much of a stimulant is never a good thing.
But the most telling quote from this animal study is in the motor activity section shown below with accompanying chart:
“While there is an indication of more activity after S-51 [DMHA] than absorbed in normal rats, a typical “amphetamine-like” effect was never noted” — Edwin Fellows (emphasis ours)
In the charts above, the researchers looked at the movements across the cage that rats displayed. Their mechanical graphing devices (remember, this was 70 years ago) displayed a vertical line anytime they moved across the cage.
In the control situation, labeled A, the rats are pretty chill, occasionally moving about. In B and C, the rats were given amphetamine, and it clearly shows. In D, E, and F, they were fed intravenous amounts of DMHA, nearly to the point of killing them in F, where they were clearly agitated.
Yet group G was a high oral dose, which shows less franticness and more motor reasonable activity.
Basically, the oral DMHA had the rats moving about, but not banging their heads against the wall like they were with amphetamine.
It’s extremely difficult to base human central nervous system activity from rat studies though, so take it all with a grain of salt.
All in all, the data we’re seeing is positive and promising. It lasts a moderate amount of time and is less agitative than amphetamine. From every angle, we keep coming back to the same conclusion – these are the effects that reasonable stimulant users are looking for.
Now it’s time to get to the “review” section of this article. We’ll then discuss dosing, and come back to newly-published research that may have some implications for us in the future.
The feel of 2-aminoisoheptane: Our early DMHA review
Those of you that have read this blog know that we love DMAA, especially in the 25-50mg range, which we consider “comfortable”. I (Mike) have now taken two supplements containing 2-amino-6-methylheptane – one currently on the market and another coming soon – and the long story short is that it feels damned good. It has nearly all the focus of DMAA, yet perhaps not as much intensity. When I take it, things just get done, and they get done well.
This stuff makes the past AMP Citrate situation look like a joke, to be brutally honest.
IMHO, this is exactly what many users are looking for. For some, DMAA was a notch or two over the top. AMP Citrate never stood a chance legally. But DMHA just seems a tad more relaxed.
See the image I posted to Instagram to the right — I went with a conservative dose that day. The workout was without a doubt quite elevated, but never unreasonable. I didn’t crash, but admittedly took a dash more to get some PricePlow work done after I got home. When using DMHA, I get a really solid 3-4 hours out of it, which is perfect in my opinion.
I’m clearly very bullish on this stim as a DMAA-alternative.
Other user reviews confirm
The above viewpoints are backed up by others who are anecdotally reporting a similar feel to DMAA and DMBA, with increased levels of focus and feelings of warmth. These helped popularize DMAA in both pre-workouts and thermogenic products. Even with 1,3 still quite freely available on the market, users are always looking for the next big thing.
As far as any crash goes, other testers report a much smoother ‘comedown’ compared to that of high dose caffeine and DMAA, enabling them to continue to have a good day long after the stimulant has worn off.
Other users have also stated that the effect lasts several hours and feel a heightened sense of euphoria and well-being during that period of time. This is what we predicted based on the structure and similarities to DMAA.
From these anecdotal reports and nearly-universal positive reviews, it’s likely that products with 2-amino-6-methylheptane on the label will continue to be a hit for users in both pre workouts and fat burners, if suppliers can reach demand and stay compliant.
As for right now, it’s still quite rare, expensive, and under the radar.
Where can I get it? What supplements have DMHA?
Popular DMHA Pre Workouts
DMHA is incredibly popular right now in the industry and can be found all over the place, but here are some of the PP crew’s top choices.
Amount of DMHA: 100mg.
If you want to experience DMHA with just caffeine but no other “exotic” stimulants such as the PEA’s from eria jarensis extract, Spazmatic is a fantastic place to start.
The most important part here is to realize that if you want that 100mg of DMHA, you’ll need to deal with 400mg caffeine and additional higenamine and hordenine (30mg each), so you may need to start at an underwhelming scoop until you’re sure of the caffeine.
Spazmatic brings a solid dose of pumps from 4.5g citrulline, and is supported by L-Norvaline, an underrated pump ingredient.
To top off the focus parts, you get 1g of straight L-Tyrosine, which is our favorite form of Tyrosine. And the watermelon candy flavor tastes fantastic!
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Amount of DMHA: 100mg.
RedCon1 hit the scene with a splash in 2016 and has been crushing it non-stop with a steady stream of well-dosed formulas month after month. But, it all started right here with the brands DMHA-infused pre workout — Total War!
Each serving of Total War contains 100mg DMHA alongside 125mg N-Phenyl Dimethylamine Citrate (the PEA alkaloid in eria jarensis) and 250mg caffeine anhydrous, for a good mix of immediate energy, mood and focus enhancement.
While Total War is a solid all around pre workout, what kept it from inching up the list of our Top 5 is that it’s DMHA content is on the lower side compared to the rest of the heavy hitters to come. Still, when it comes to covering all of your bases in a 1 scoop formula, Total War is hard to beat.
No artificial colors!
A growing segment of supplement users aren’t too keen on chugging loads of fake colors in their diets. If you happen to be one of those people, then Total War, and the entire RedCon1 line, is for you! RedCon1 uses absolutely NO artificial colors in any of their products, so you’ll never wonder if you’re insides are turning a light shade of Blue #1!
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Amount of DMHA: 200mg.
If you want to see how potent DMHA really is, but don’t want the huge hit of caffeine alongside it, Kraken is where you need to look. The top selling supplement from Sparta Nutrition, Kraken has emerged as one of the true standouts in the DMHA pre workout niche.
The feeling energy and mood from Kraken is unlike any other pre workout. Each scoop gives you 200mg DMHA, and 250mg Eria Jarensis alongside a very reasonable 200mg caffeine. The synergism between these three stimulants provides an ideal mix of laser focus, heightened awareness, and increased alertness without making you feel jittery or anxious.
Kraken isn’t just about the energy and focus, it’s also bringing the noise with some serious pumps in the way of 4g pure L-Citrulline, propped up by the N.O. extenders Agmatine (1g) and L-Norvaline (200mg). There’s even 2g of Hydromax and 1g of Taurine for some water-fueled pumps too!
The biggest complain against Kraken when it initially launched was the flavoring was off…really off. Well, now that Hi-Tech is handling the flavoring for Kraken, Sparta has relaunched Kraken will a brand new flavor lineup, and ALL of the flavors are much improved.
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Amount of DMHA: 200mg.
DVST8 White Cut met with rave reviews from the PricePlow gang when it first hit the scene just over a year ago. The combination of the Eria Jarensis, DMHA and the three forms of caffeine provide quite a unique surge in energy that is unmatched by any other pre workout in this list. To put it into words, White Cut hits hard and heavy out the gate and keeps that same high level of drive and motivation throughout your entire workout.
While the “full” serving of White Cut is 2 scoops, we’ve found our “sweet spot” right around 1.5-1.75 scoops. FYI, each scoop packs 162.5mg caffeine from a combination of 100mg straight caffeine anhydrous, as well as 50mg dicaffeine malate (providing 37.5mg caffeine) and 50mg caffeine citrate (providing 25mg caffeine).
How Much DMHA?!
One thing White Cut doesn’t disclose on their partially transparent label is how much Eria or DMHA is in their stimulant blend. However, we’ve reached out to the brand, and they’ve agreed to disclose the amount of DMHA and Eria in White Cut.
- DMHA = 100mg / scoop, meaning there’s 200mg / serving
- Eria Jarensis = 75mg / scoop, totaling 150mg / serving
Inspired Nutraceuticals also mentioned that they were the first in the industry to dose both of the ingredients this high, and that was the reason they employed a prop blend when White Cut was first released. That’s why Inspired chose to protect the recipe for their special sauce, but we’re glad they disclosed it now.
Great at 1 scoop too!
Even if you can’t take the full energy surge of White Cut at a full serving of 2 scoops, you’ll still fare incredibly well for your workout, as you’ll get 4g of pure L-Citrulline, 2g Betaine, 1.6g Beta Alanine and 1g Taurine!
BTW, if you want a crazy awesome tasting supplement, this is easily the one.
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Amount of DMHA: 200mg
Ohhh man, there is just something about this perfectly-dosed stimulant profile that just drives us up a wall. Do not take a full scoop at first!!
CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Brand Sidewalk Kraka is just about as intense as it gets with energy. Each serving of Kraka hits you with 300mg caffeine, 200mg Eria Jarensis, and 125mg DMHA. But that’s not the end of the stim ride, as you’ll also get some Theobromine, Theacrine, Naringin, and a dash of Rauwolscine to really amp up the stim feels on this one.
CT likes his stims on the heavy side, and now you get to experience the same thing too! Be warned though, for some, this product might be a bit too much right out the gate at a full scoop, so to prevent a nasty crash or feeling jittery, we’d recommend starting at ½ – ¾ scoop and seeing how the cocktail of stims hits home.
The Sidewalk Kraka isn’t only a mish-mash of high potency stims though, you’ll also get some decent pumps from Agmatine and Hydromax, 1g each, and endurance benefits (and tingles!) from 3.2g Beta Alanine.
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What about fat burners?!
If you’re in the market for fat burners, you’re in luck here too! There’s a couple in particular that’d we’d suggest you look at if you want to see how DMHA works in a weight loss formula:
Amount of DMHA Extract: 100mg.
As a fat burner, Double Tap is all about long-lasting energy and suppressing appetite. Each serving provides 100mg DMHA along side 750mg choline bitartrate, 150mg caffeine anhydrous, 150mg dicaffeine malate, and 100mg of theacrine! This is the dose where you’ll really start to feel the effects of theacrine’s never-ending energy and focus.
For actual enhanced fat burning, you’ll get 1g of ALCAR, 500mg Green Tea Extract, 200mg Dandelion extract for dropping water weight, and 30mg of the beta-2 agonist Octopamine. Just be aware though, that if you’re a drug-tested athlete, Double Tap is off limits as Octapamine is a banned stimulant by WADA.
Double Tap comes in both pill and powder form, giving you the option to decide how you want to take your stims and fat loss support for the day!
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Amount of DMHA: 75mg per scoop / 150mg per serving yet *also* contains J. Regia (likely 2-amino-5-methylheptane).
HydraShred is about as robust as it gets for a fat burner. In addition to the 6 different forms of caffeine you’ll get, HydraShred also contains 75mg DMHA alongside a sizeable 100mg Eria Jarensis per scoop.
So if you take the full serving HydraShred (i.e. 2 scoops), that means you’re getting 150mg DMHA, 200mg Eria Jarensis, along with 300mg total caffeine (from the various forms), AND 50mg J. Regia (which likely provides the other form of DMHA, 2-amino-5-methylheptane)!
This makes HydraShred an ideal fat burner for those looking for energy, focus, and a strong boost in overall mood.
Sparta didn’t skimp on the true fat burning ingredients either, as you’ll get legit doses of Paradoxine, ALCAR, LCLT, and Cirsium Oligophyllum, a throwback from the original OxyELITE Pro which was so potent. HydraShred comes in both powder and capsules, so you can pop some caps for quick dosing or sip your fat burner to enjoy it over a longer period of time.
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Who is the preferred DMHA Raw Material Supplier?
If you’re running a supplement brand and are looking to sell a product containing DMHA, the raw materials market is as confusing as it is questionable. However, there’s one company that fights the same fight as we do when attacking fraudulent ingredients: EffePharm.
In a blog post about EffePharm’s DMHA, the company explains how they’ve found fake 2-amino-5 in the market using four different purity tests (LC-MS, 1 HNMR, Melting Point, and Hydroscopicity).
With those four lab tests, they’ve found a supply of pure 2-amino-6-methylheptane DMHA, as shown below:
But what happens with the “fake DMHA” (which was discovered to be 2-amino-5-methylhexane) that they’ve tested? It becomes unstable! If left out for less than a week, 10g of this stuff turns into 12.5g of liquid mess!
This is why it’s best to get your material from a trusted, tested source, like EffePharm. Click here to read more about this story and their raw material DMHA.
The stimulant factor – will more dopamine improve mental performance?
You think this article was written while just sipping green tea?!
While it’s hard to say for certain with DMHA, if we can compare it to its structural relatives, then it seems likely that it’ll be able to “wake you up”, but also far more. In saying that, realize that the power of wakefulness could be the dividing factor between achieving a particular task or not, so this alone could constitute the sole basis for your decision to purchase a stimulant like 2-amino-6-methylheptane.
Can they improve memory?
However, these compounds also have other effects that stem far beyond wakefulness, most notably the increased development of episodic memory.[19,20,21] As the name implies, episodic memory has to do with past episodes or events that shape the way we will respond to similar challenges in the future. As we learn more about which approaches work and which don’t through experience, we can apply the same logic to solving new challenges in the future, thus saving time and resources.
For those of you starting to think of this as a work/study/programming aid… you’re right on our wavelength.
More than just motivation: bringing the follow-through
Dopamine also has ties to increased motivation and subsequent volition, which is the desire to achieve something and the commitment to doing something, respectively.[22,23]
The key difference between the two lies in the terms desire and commitment – for example, a person may desire to become a professional bodybuilder, but if you throw enough obstacles in their way, the desire to achieve that goal may wane and the end goal never achieved. On the other hand, a person with volition will not stop until the end result is achieved. In bodybuilding, people like Rich Piana and Marc Lobliner have plenty of this.
It’s been stated that there is a motivation ‘threshold’ where increased motivation eventually turns into volition if a certain level of motivation is reached and surpassed. Those with elevated levels of dopamine work harder for things and remain on task for much longer than those with lower dopamine levels, thus being able to achieve the ‘volition threshold’.[21,22,23]
Lastly, dopamine also plays a key role with the pleasure / reward centers in the brain. In the simplest sense, activation of this pathway tells the person to repeat that action in order to reward again.[20,23] Moreover, activation of this component enhances our memory so that we can remember exactly what we did to achieve that feeling of reward and satisfaction – thus tying in with the above. So not only do we feel better once we achieve something, we remember exactly what we did in order to feel better and are more likely to repeat the task.
This is why it’s so important to us to accomplish great things – be it working out, studying, composing music, etc – while on these supplements and the dopamine is surging.
Many of us who were using supplements back in 2010 remember the phenomenal workouts while using Jack3d or OxyELITE Pro (and now Jack’d Up or HydroxyElite)… the effects carried into ridiculously productive work weeks too. Anecdotally speaking, DMHA brings us the same focused feeling. You think this article was written while just sipping green tea?! Think again!
This is just another reason why we’re such fans of these supplements, at least for aggressive stimulant-lovers. We honestly believe that they’ve led to a positive net-gain in the world. But are they legal as supplements, and will they be around for long?
A case for compliance – how long will it be around?
If we first take a look at DMAA, the stimulant first made popular by USPlabs, we note that almost no safety data existed on the compound until after its release and wide distribution. Fortunately, the compound was demonstrated to be relatively safe, provided you used it sensibly and have had no prior cardiovascular conditions.[24,25] Unfortunately, by the time the safety data was published, the FDA and the press had already given it a serious hatchet-job, and most companies (save for Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals) have stopped selling it.
So when this ingredient was introduced to the supplement industry as 2-aminoisoheptane back in 2013, there was some skepticism over what it really was. After all, it’s been hard as hell finding studies that reference the compound, and popular organic chemistry sites turned up no alternative nomenclature for it at the time.
The lack of available data immediately caused issues, and the company responsible for introducing the ingredient was quickly pressured into ceasing production.
That seemed to be the end of this one. Until folks started digging deeper… and now, three years later, we’re armed with more research. DMHA is set for quite the resurgence, yet with a new (and possibly more compliant) name — 2-amino-6-methylheptane.
So what case exactly does 2-amino-6-methylheptane actually have?
Update – Feb 15, 2016: This section has been updated to reflect the differences between the 2-amino-5 and 2-amino-6 versions.
First, it’s important to note that “2-aminoisoheptane” (or “2AIH”) was basically a made-up name for the ingredient. In the past research studies and products found, it had other names, most notably 2-amino-6-methylheptane or Octodrine. Having multiple names is nothing new – after all, there’s over ten ways to describe H2O (water).
Second, it’s important to realize that there are two versions of this stimulant, and each have their own compliance case.
The case for 2-amino-5-methylheptane
First, to kick things off easily, there is irrefutable evidence that 2-amino-5-methylheptane is found in nature. It is found in walnut bark extract — not the nut, but the actual bark of the Juglans Regia tree.
This evidence can be found in the study titled Evaluation of Antimicrobial Properties of Two Different Extracts of Juglans regia Tree Bark and Search for Their Compounds Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrum, where it is named 2-heptanamine,5-methyl-.
Remember, 2-amino-5 is not “DMHA” and isn’t the basis of most of the research of this paper, but it’s obviously very similar. 2-amino-5 is actually reported to be stronger (though nobody here at PricePlow has tried it).
So why don’t we use 2-amino-5 and call it a day?
The issue is cost. It reportedly takes quite a bit of material to produce 2-amino-5-methylheptane, making it prohibitively expensive.
If companies want the easiest case for compliance, the 2-amino-5 version and the study cited above would be good enough. Yet DMHA, or 2-amino-6, is what most companies would like to sell since it would make for more reasonable fat burner and pre workout prices.
This is the end of the February 15 update.
Back to the DMHA / 2-amino-6 compliance questions
In recent weeks however, we’ve been assured that a case does indeed exist for FDA DSHEA compliance, so long as the ingredient appears on the label of products as “2-amino-6-methylheptane HCl” and not as an extract of Aconitum Kusnezoffii.
We don’t yet know how, but this development is important, as the default argument for compliance is to state that it’s naturally-derived – as in, (A) a vitamin; (B) a mineral; (C) an herb or other botanical; (D) an amino acid; (E) a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or (F) a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract or combination of any ingredient described in clause (A), (B), (C), (D), (E) or (F).
Our belief is that item (C) is where DMHA will find its compliance factor, as it is said to be a constituent of an herb/botanical. Supposedly, it would need to be further argued that water soluble/hydrolyzable salts of compounds found in an herb or botanical are legal, as the added HCl (hydrochloride) bond makes it into a salt.
Bruce Kneller of Giant Sports has gone on the record to clarify a bit more, stating the following:
“What’s really special about DMHA is that there is absolute, virtually irrefutable data to show it is found in nature in something that has a long, pre-1994 history of being eaten as a foodstuff. I am not talking about the algae or the Aconitum species that was (correctly) found this in.
What was not known at the time when the industry first introduced DMHA into the supplement market was that this dietary ingredient has been shown to be found in a fruit-food source.
That is exceedingly good news for enthusiasts… at a minimum, DMHA has a chance of being considered a legit, “meets-the-definition” of the dietary ingredient by FDA.
— Bruce Kneller, Giant Sports
So we’re on the lookout for what we believe to be a fruit that contains this compound, but haven’t yet found it ourselves.
The fruit has been disclosed! It’s found in Kigelia Africana!
Updated March 22, 2016:
We’ve found the study that shows that Octodrine has a serious basis in nature: A 2014 study titled Metabolomic Profiling of Kigelia africana Extracts with Anti-Cancer Activity by High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectroscopy contains the compound, as well as several other very interesting compounds. The article was published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed journal that really has no stake in the supplement industry.
An interesting fruit…
Now this isn’t a post about Kigelia Africana, but if you do some research, you’ll see that this fruit is really interesting. The fruit has antibacterial, anti-cancer, and even pain relieving properties to go along with its euphoric stim feel.
In fact, we’ve found that when accidentally getting DMHA on our gums, it feels like a small bit of novocaine from the dentist’s office. Not recommended to try at home, but interesting compound nevertheless.
We’d like to thank Bruce Kneller for sticking his neck out on this one – there were many doubters stating that this compound wouldn’t be found in nature, and this article had it’s fair share of haters, but we’re now far more confident in it.
Clarifying confusion: vagueness in the name 2-aminoisoheptane
Update Jan 25, 2016: This section was added in response to confusion over this article.
There’s a reason why we don’t like the ingredient name “2-aminoisoheptane” that is used on some labels: it is vague. For instance:
- 2-amino-5-methylheptane is 2-aminoisoheptane,
- 2-amino-6-methylheptane is also 2-aminoisoheptane,
- 2-amino-4-methylheptane is also 2-aminoisoheptane,
- and 2-amino-3-methylheptane is also 2-aminoisoheptane.
When using the 2-aminoisoheptane nomenclature, the “iso” aspect doesn’t specify where the methyl group is, so it’s not a complete name. It’s also odd, because the “2-amino” part does specify where the NH2 is.
So now the question is, what was really released earlier on in 2013?
We’re not sure, but it was either 2-amino-5-methylheptane or 2-amino-6-methylheptane. In this article, we’ve discussed research on the latter, which is clearly a stimulatory compound. Yet there’s a post out there that leads us to believe that previous supplements contained 2-amino-5-methylheptane variation.
The issue with the 2-amino-5 variation is that there’s less research on it, and worse, there’s a patent for it in liquid form that would have put the first 2-aminoisoheptane product in violation. Maybe that’s why it was removed from the market so abruptly?
Anyway, if you tried 2-aminoisoheptane back in 2013, these new DMHA-based supplements may in fact be slightly different. But if they’re found in fruit, they stand a better chance at compliance – especially since Octodrine was sold prior to 1962 and may not necessarily have true “drug” status.
Speaking of natural occurrence, there’s a nut that may contain it too, though, as alluded above:
Aconite? Not having it…
Apparently some aconitum species also has the ingredient inside. The issue is, it’s a poisonous plant family. So the aconite extract argument is a bit tougher.
We can’t see the FDA approving of something labeled as an extract when that plant is clearly toxic. Even if that were technically compliant, it would be too easy for them to claim adulteration, since there is reasonable risk that a true extract from aconite could be dangerous. You’d need to either have a bulletproof extraction process, a slightly risky product that hasn’t been perfectly extracted, or simply a fraudulent label. We’re not willing to take any of those gambles and we doubt the FDA would either.
But Walnut Bark Extract…
Yet if you see “J. Regia” or “Juglans Regia” extract on a label, it’s quite possible you’re actually getting 2-amino-5-methylheptane. Keep an eye out for that ingredient.
Anyway, we’re confident that 2-amino-6-methylheptane can be found in nature. The question is, has it been in the food supply, and is that enough for it to be synthetically created and labeled as a dietary supplement without requiring new dietary ingredient approval from the FDA?
We expect much of this discussion to be resolved by the aforementioned Hi-Tech Pharma vs. FDA lawsuit over DMAA later this year or next.
Drug-tested athlete? Don’t bother.
On the note of compliance, we have to talk about banned substances and drug-tested athletes. As of right now, this is not on the 2016 WADA banned substances list, and we checked for every name of the ingredient.
But if you’ve been around this kind of thing long enough, you’ve got to know from commons sense: drug tested athletes should not be taking this. We have no clue what kind of false positives might appear, especially due to its similarities to other banned substances… and plus, it’s nearly guaranteed that it’s going to get banned at some point in 2016 anyway!
In addition, WADA has a clause for “similar substances”, so technically, DMHA is automatically banned for sport since it is similar to DMAA.
As far as those of you in the military or are drug-tested at work, it’s a huge risk to you. Even if it’s not technically banned, you’re asking for a headache. And knowing the DOD, which bans everything in this category, it will be officially banned sooner than later anyway.
So be smart with this one. Stay away from it if you’re a drug-tested athlete and don’t bring bad press for those of us who aren’t.
To be banned in Australia October 1, 2017
As an update to this post, the Australian Government published an advisory that DMHA will be banned in Australia come October 1, 2017, as a Schedule 10 substance just like DMAA.
Any side effects?
Proprietary blends with these stimulants are bad for everyone
When both were combined, which is what we are likely to see in pre-workout product, they produced a 24 point increase in systolic blood pressure and a 12 point increase in diastolic blood pressure, which may be problematic for those with pre-existing elevated high blood pressure or whose exercise is likely to cause massive spikes in blood pressure or heart rate.
For those without pre-existing heart and blood pressure issues, it is unlikely (but not at all guaranteed) that the user will have any issues using this compound; however it is impossible to say until more evidence surfaces on it.
Our personal bet – and I may be willing to sit down on video to record it – is that DMHA will elevate blood pressure less than DMAA. It just feels less intense in that aspect – a small unconventional study might be worth having.
High LD50 numbers (but let’s not test this!)
Fisher Scientific, a laboratory equipment and ingredient supplier, lists 2-Amino-6-Methylheptane as having an oral LD50 of 538mg/kg in rats. Remember, the LD50 is the amount required to cause death in half the animals.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an oral LD50 for DMAA to compare to in mice for an apples-to-apples comparison here.
Also, even though this DMHA oral LD50 is quite high, we’re not rats. We’d never try even a miniscule fraction of that amount.
Intravenously – far lower LD50s…
On the other hand, the intravenous LD50s from the original study in 1947 by Edwin J. Fellows were far lower than the oral one cited above – mice have an intravenous LD50 of 59mg/kg.
Compare that to DMAA’s LD50 in mice:
The LD50 for methylhexaneamine is 39mg/kg for intravenous and 185mg/kg for intraperitoneal administration (mouse).[28,29]
Compare that against DMHA’s mouse LD50 of 59mg/kg.
This means that it takes less DMAA than DMHA to kill half of the mice via IV. That’s at least some form of good news, but surely not enough for conservative supplement users.
Common sense dictates that you should never be injecting this or any related compound!
Preliminary conclusion on “safe” dosing:
Overall, everything here leads us to believe that up to roughly 1mg per pound of lean body mass taken orally will be reasonably safe for healthy individuals, but of course only with the written consent and approval of your physician after a cardiovascular clean bill of health.
So if you’re a 185lb male at 12% bodyfat, a max dose would be about 160mg, so conservative dosing would be 80-120mg.
Proprietary blends with these stimulants are bad for everyone
Our biggest issue is when supplement manufacturers put any stimulants into a proprietary blend and don’t allow us to disclose them.
If we can’t know our ideal doses, and the various products all have differing doses, it ultimately puts the consumer in a more dangerous situation than necessary. We implore any supplement company to fully disclose the stimulant amounts on their labels, and at the very least, allow us to disclose them online on PricePlow for our like-minded readers.
All in all, assessing tolerance by using half of a serving of any product containing DMHA is the best way to see how it works for you. Wear a heart rate monitor. Take your blood pressure. Be cautious, smart, and get a doctor’s approval.
If you like it, it’s going to be a solid year of workouts. And in that case, you might want to load up while you can…
The future of “Octodrine”
As interesting as these studies are, they might eventually spell bad news for the supplement industry.
In 2015, two studies were published showing the following:
Octodrine displays a wide variety of anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity. It “was shown to be one of the most effective drugs in killing serum-grown Candida albicans without significantly affecting the survival of host macrophages and skin cells.”
Octodrine killed a Uropathogenic strain of E. Coli bacteria after five days of exposure, and within a week, it killed everything the scientists tested for. It didn’t perform the “best”, but it could still have use in treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The study from the first bullet point raises some concerns – not for us safety-wise, but for us in terms of marketability. They stated that while octodrine had been used as a decongestant, it was the one compound in the study that’d never been tested to kill fungi. Low and behold, it turned out to be the best one.
Combine this with the fact that there’s a patent tied to the first study above titled Method of treating microbial infections, and you can begin to see our concern: there’s clearly potential for Octodrine as a prescription antibacterial, antifungal yeast infection drug, and possibly as a UTI treatment too.
You’ve seen the commercials – these are massive markets that trump anything in the sports nutrition world a thousand times over. The selling power in these alternate applications could be enormous.
So our concern is that when these studies are further evaluated, DMHA is going to get pulled off the market not due to safety, but due to big pharma turning it into a prescription drug for completely unrelated use cases.
A new star could have just been born in the medical world… which could be bad news for the supplement world.
So our recommendation to serious stimulant users who have a clean bill of health: stock up and enjoy it while it lasts.
If you’re anything like us… you will enjoy it.
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