Here in the sports nutrition industry, we’re always looking for the “Next Big Stimulant”. Something to take you to the next level.
Here in the summer of 2015, that next compound may have arrived, by way of N-Phenyldimethylamine, a constituent of Eria Jarensis Extract.
This is a new PEA-like molecule that has a very nice euphoric effect. It’s no DMAA in terms of strength, but it might just be the next best new thing.
See the table of contents below to skip around, or skip to the products containing Eria Jarensis Extract / N-phenethyl dimethylamine if you just want to see the goods.
Before we get into it and the products inside, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see why this is such a big deal and what we’re up against.
How did we get here?
- 1 How did we get here?
- 2 Introducing N-phenethyl dimethylamine, a constituent of Eria Jarensis Ames
- 3 N-phenethyldimethylamine and Eria Jarensis Ames Supplements
- 4 How N-phenethyldimethylamine might work
- 5 Eria Jarensis Ames: Where does this come into the picture?
- 6 Dosage
- 7 Side effects?
- 8 Summary
- 9 References
It all started with ephedrine / ephedra, which the FDA prohibited for use in dietary supplements in 2004,[1,2] which was finalized in 2006 after a long and brutal legal battle.
NO-Xplode then ruled the streets for a while, but the industry was then completely disrupted when DMAA entered the scene. Reintroduced by Patrick Arnold and made famous in Jack3d and OxyELITE Pro, it was supposedly found in geranium stems[4,5], but never approved by the FDA for use in supplements.[6,7]
Once DMAA was banned, the game was on to find the next big thing. Things got serious, as new regulatory battles (and extremely questionable industry behavior) raged with higher and higher frequency.
The first thing after DMAA was Dendrobium extract, which was all the “craze”… until everyone found out that their favorite new pre workout was actually spiked with a methamphetamine analogue, and dendrobium contained none of the PEA-based compounds it was marketed to have.[8,9,10,11]
After that debacle, there was a bit of a layoff, and the industry took a collective sigh, attempting to recover from the negative press whirlwind that affected the entire industry. Companies struggled to mix various ingredients and ever-higher doses of caffeine to get that extra edge… but it just wasn’t the same.
Then, a flash in the pan: AMP Citrate, which was supposedly found in the vapors of pouchong tea, provided a nice “DMAA Lite”-like edge. The FDA acted fast, recently putting the kibosh on that one too.
Meanwhile throughout much of this time, an ingredient known as BMPEA has been on the market. It was labeled as a constituent of the much heralded acacia rigidula plant, but the FDA states that they cannot find it in acacia rigidula (nor was it listed on many acacia-based product labels that actually contained it), so they’ve sent warning letters. Hi-Tech Pharma is fighting those letters.
There is one thing in common with all of these ingredients: in all reality, most manufacturers were most likely just including synthetically-created components, not actually using extract. This is not uncommon – after all, your vitamin C supplement is likely synthetically created, not from freshly squeezed oranges. But it does pose problems that we’ll get into later.
Anyway, it was back to the stimulant drawing board for the industry, and that’s where we were – up until about two months ago.
That’s when Giant Sports released the label of Dexamine Black, and sent us a couple of early release bottles. Something was definitely different with this product. It wasn’t insane, but we could feel that extra little “it” factor so many supplement users seek.
Could it be… the next big thing is here?
Introducing N-phenethyl dimethylamine, a constituent of Eria Jarensis Ames
On Dexamine Black’s label, an interesting new ingredient: N-phenethyldimethylamine, which seemed like yet another PEA-based ingredient.
PEA, otherwise known as Phenethylamine, functions as a neuromodulator in the central nervous system. Although naturally-occurring, it’s frequently supplemented for its therapeutic mood-boosting benefits (it boosts dopamine levels, and dopamine is the feel-good neurotransmitter).
PEA is incredible… for about all of five minutes.[18,19]
But at around five to ten minutes after use, it will have been mostly metabolized by your MAO enzymes.[20,21] To get around this, some supplement manufacturers combine PEA ingredients with natural MAO inhibitors to get a longer-lasting effect. However, those ingredient combinations just can’t hold a candle to the now-banned compounds discussed up above.
So the hunt has been on for the Next Big Thing™…
But when trying the Dexamine Black (which is also loaded with a potent 250mg of caffeine – in one capsule), the “buzz” definitely lasted a lot longer. The best word to describe the feeling is one of euphoria.
It’s not over the top, but it’s a more uplifting feel than any fat burner we’ve tried since the original OxyELITE Pro, which had the now-banned DMAA in it, and is more expensive and harder to come by.
It’s definitely different than anything with PEA or DMAA that we’ve taken in the past – and we’ll explain why below – so it’s got us thinking… if this is FDA compliant, is N-phenethyldimethylamine (or possibly any supplement that has Eria Jarensis Ames on the label) what we’ve been looking for?
Our answer is that we believe it is – with tempered enthusiasm.
Since there’s no published research that’s been performed on this molecule, we dig into the underlying chemistry in the section below. Our basic conclusion is that it’s not as powerful as DMAA, but it seems legal and is the best new thing we have for 2015 and early 2016.
But before we get into the chemistry, let’s get into the part you want: products containing N-phenethyl dimethylamine. Sometimes they’re labeled as Eria Jarensis Ames, which we’ll also discuss later on:
N-phenethyldimethylamine and Eria Jarensis Ames Supplements
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As you can see, these are all quite aggressive formulations. If you can handle the 250mg caffeine dose, Dexamine Black is our preferred product because it has an open formula – you know exactly what you’re getting.
Now, let’s get back to the science.
We briefly talked about PEA up above, and how this seems similar… but PEA just doesn’t last long enough.
So how is N-phenethyldimethylamine any different here?
Put your chemistry hat on now. You’re about to learn a touch about how amphetamines work, in our half-science-half-broscience way here at PricePlow:
How N-phenethyldimethylamine might work
First, take a look at the most basic 2D models of some popular stimulants, alongside this new one:
And even PEA:
Now, let’s look at N-phenethyldimethylamine:
Note that these 2D models don’t tell the whole story behind these molecules, but they help tell our story.
See anything similar between them all?
If not, here you go, in red:
Those red lines are what we call the “PEA Backbone”, and they show where the compounds bind to receptors in your brain. They do this by mimicking some of your brain’s own neurotransmitters. Once those brain receptors are activated, they release more dopamine, and in comes your feel-good rush.
That part is “easy”.
Passing the feasibility test
The hard part comes in finding an ingredient that passes all tests:
We need a non-toxic compound that won’t get metabolized as quickly as PEA;
It needs to be legal and FDA/DSHEA compliant (discussed in further detail later on);
And it can’t last too long, otherwise it will cause all sorts of hellish problems with the dopaminergic system (like amphetamine psychosis) which would surely get it banned (or more likely for use in prescription drugs….)
The video below simplistically shows how this may happen:
So first, let’s worry about part (1) above: protection from metabolism. But before we talk about that, we need to discuss what exactly we’re trying to protect!
Protecting the Amine
A key part of the dopamine-boosting reaction in your brain is the nitrogen atom, labeled as N in the pictures above. That N is known as the amine – it’s a basic nitrogen atom that has a “lone pair” of valence electrons that aren’t shared with another atom.
Those spare electrons enable your body to do an uncountable number of wonderful things, as they create bonds / reactions and interact with several other biological molecules and receptors. For instance, our neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are all amines – amines that we sometimes want more of.
Mimicking our natural boosters – but safely
A stimulant-lover’s goal is to safely and temporarily mimic the natural action of those neurotransmitters so that the brain can release enough dopamine to power through a workout, a tough test, or a long night on the job.
The four compounds pictured above all do just that – mimic your neurotransmitters and cause a dopamine surge (amongst other things). But some simply work better and last longer than others.
Why? It comes down to the other atoms connected to the molecule. Nitrogen needs a bodyguard, otherwise it suffers the same quick fate as PEA from your MAO enzymes.
Now let’s further illustrate two of the images above:
Compared to the support (or lack thereof) in poor PEA:
So in DMAA and N-phenethyldimethylamine, you have some form of protection that doesn’t make it so simple for MAO enzymes to attach and “cleave” them off of your dopamine receptors.
In the case of DMAA, it is an alpha alkyl – much more like amphetamine, and it “works incredibly well” – giving DMAA the ability to last throughout your workout (just one reason why it was so popular).
N-phenethyldimethylamine has an N,N’ dialkyl, which is not as good as DMAA’s alpha-alkyl, but still does offer some protection.
The honest truth is that many in the industry are looking for the next DMAA – but it needs to be legal / DSHEA compliant, and perhaps just a little bit weaker (since any stronger is likely to find you in ban-land).
This may be the molecule that gets the job done – at least for 2015 and early 2016 – although it’s definitely not as powerful as DMAA:
DMAA is an aliphatic amine
The issue with PEA molecules like N-phenethyldimethylamine is that while they do indeed feel good, they can only do half of what molecules like DMAA do.
DMAA and AMP Citrate are both in a class of molecules known as aliphatic amines – these are amines that do not have an aromatic ring attached to the nitrogen atom. In the compounds above, the hexagons (with the straight lines inside the hexagons) on the left of PEA and N-phenethyldimethylamine molecules represent aromatic rings.
Aliphatic amines like DMAA offer more “basicity”, which means that (and we’re way oversimplifying things here) because of the way the nitrogen is charged, the molecules are overall less complex, so their nitrogen atoms are more likely to donate their free electrons. In general, this allows for a broader diversity of reactions to occur with aliphatic amines.
The end result is that the proper aliphatic amine (such as DMAA) not only provides the dopamine surge, but you end up with other results such as improved athletic capabilities.
N-phenethyldimethylamine vs. DMAA: Great, but not as great
So, to put it simply, N-phenethyl dimethylamine is NOT as strong as DMAA. It should almost definitely provide that euphoric buzz and will certainly last longer than PEA, but it probably won’t help you outswim a team of Navy SEALs like DMAA sometimes could. Sorry to bring the bad news.
But, at this stage in the game, we’re happy to have it here – so long as it remains legal – and love the extra step of mental mojo that it (and any supplement containing it) provides.
It’s also worth mentioning that now is not the time to try finding aliphatic amines to use as a pre workout. Many of them are chemicals such as solvents that will drop you dead in no time at all. There’s a very small subset that are actually moderately safe for consumption.
Added Benefit: Lipophilicity
Beyond what’s discussed above, N-phenethyl dimethylamine has some other nice benefits. Those added CH3 parts are known as alkyl groups, and they generally help increase the lipophilicity – or ability to dissolve in fats – of PEA molecules.
What does that mean to us? The simple answer is that it will cross the blood-brain barrier much more easily.
So having something with the structure of PEA, but with the added protective lipophilic structure of the alkyl groups gives you something that’s better than PEA – exactly what many users want.
Things obviously go a lot deeper here, especially when you start dealing with amphetamines, which is really out of the scope of this article. It gets to the point where it is no longer about chemistry and starts to become a lesson in physical space and biology – and this is where amphetamine really starts to impact your system (often negatively).
So there’s a fine line here with these compounds – too strong and you’re on your way to the psych ward or addiction clinic, but too weak and there’s no point in bothering with it in the first place.
Point being, there is a very fine line to balance here. And for our purposes, N-phenethyldimethylamine seems to walk that line quite well.
Eria Jarensis Ames: Where does this come into the picture?
So getting back to the original ingredient that you may have come here searching for, what is eria jarensis ames?
It’s a plant in the orchid family – eria is the genus, eria jarensis is the species. And it is the only plant (that we know of) that has been shown to supply N-phenethyl dimethylamine.
The published science is a bit limited at this point: it’s only mentioned very briefly in a fifty year old document titled Phenethylamines from Eria jarensis Ames: Studies on Orchidaceae alkaloids.[26,27]
In that document, it discusses that
“eria jarensis ames [collected in the Philippines by Miss Mary Fermin] has been shown to contain simple phenethylamine derivatives.
The base fraction consisted of N-methyl-phenethylamine and N,N-dimethylphenethylamine (II). The mixture was treated with ketene and then analyzed by combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The retention time of N,N-dimethyl-phenethylamine and of the acetyl derivative of N-methyl-phenethylamine, as well as their mass spectra, were indistinguishable from those of authentic samples…
10 kg of the fresh plant material afforded 1g of iodide, 50mg of N-methyl-phenethylamine and 5mg of N,N-dimethyl-phenethylamine. Choline (0.3g) was also obtained.”
The issue is that if those numbers are accurate, it would take a lot of plant matter to get these compounds. It’s been a long time since their discovery up above, and both our ability to extract them and our ability to measure them have improved.
On legality and the FDA
Earlier in this article, we said that we want a component that’s strong but not too strong, and FDA compliant. What does that mean?
- It can’t be a scheduled drug (obviously),
- It must have been used or marketed as a supplement prior to October 15, 1994, or be present in the food supply as an article used in food, OR
- It is a vitamin; mineral; herb or other botanical; amino acid; a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake (e.g. enzymes or tissues from organs or glands); or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract (or combination of the above), OR
- some company must file an NDI (New Dietary Ingredient) and show that it is reasonably expected to be safe, which is an expensive and painful process with no guarantees.
So while it’s great that this compounds is found in nature, our concern is that the FDA is going to want more assurances regarding this ingredient than just one fifty year old document.
We’ll keep you up to date on this, but if you recall from our discussion on the FDA’s DSHEA Act above, it’s possible that we don’t need a plant extract for this one.
We believe that the legality may actually involve the clause below, but we don’t have enough proof to say one way or another:
“It is a vitamin; mineral; herb or other botanical; amino acid; a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake (e.g. enzymes or tissues from organs or glands); or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract (or combination of the above) — FDA DSHEA Act”
That said, having it available as an extract is a major bonus, and it’s our goal that this ingredient will get perfected and enjoyed for a longer period of time than many of the others that have suffered the fate of the FDA.
There is no recommended dose for N-phenethyl dimethylamine, but we find that it’s probably best to stick with what Giant Sports is doing: a maximum 125mg twice per day.
One interesting thing we’ve note so far (in June 2015) is that all of the products containing this ingredient have some extreme doses of other ingredients. For instance, Dexamine Black has 250mg caffeine, and SP250 has 3.2g beta alanine in one scoop (alongside an unknown quantity of eria jarensis extract).
One unconfirmed idea is that this is a way of “rate-limiting” a consumer’s use of this ingredient, so that there are fewer issues. In the case of Dexamine Black, absolutely nobody is going to want to take more than two capsules at a time – the caffeine dose alone would be outside of recommended safety limits for an entire day. Meanwhile, with SP250, taking any more than 1.5 scoops would result in nearly unbearable beta alanine tingles (known as paresthesia).
That’s just postulation though.
Regardless, it seems that a max of 250mg per day, spaced out between two 125mg doses, is the best current strategy.
Judging from our research above, this seems like a safe number when compared to the maximum of 500mg of regular PEA per day – since N-Phenyldimethylamine is stronger and longer-lasting, we will want less than a PEA dose.
Looking at PEA’s potential side effects, extreme cases have noted rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure, but it gets broken down so soon that it’s difficult to really measure these impacts, and is tough to find actual research backing those statements up (please leave a comment if you’ve read any research or case studies).
PEA-based compounds also sometimes yield a bit of a crash, but anecdotally, we haven’t had this yet with N-Phenyldimethylamine.
Do NOT mix with prescription drugs
The biggest issue with PEA supplements is not the PEA itself, but when mixed with other drugs or supplements that act as MAO inhibitors.
Some MAO inhibitors are natural and relatively weak, others (especially those in prescription form) are extremely strong and should not be taken alongside any kind of PEA-like molecule. Ever.
This is why you must always speak to a doctor and get written consent before beginning any new diet or supplementation program – especially with a new supplement such as this. After that, always follow the label.
Fact is, if you’re here reading this in mid-2015, there’s not a ton of information one way or another. That’s why we wrote this article, but without published research, there is some risk to taking any new compound. You are entering slightly uncharted territory. Some consumers are fine with that, others are not – use personal discretion to determine your risk threshold.
But in our case here, the science leans towards this being weaker than DMAA, and that likely means less side effects as well. That may help shape your decision as to whether or not you want to try it. If you do, start with a minimum dose first, but only after consulting your doctor.
This page is highly theoretical and is not intended to cure, treat, or diagnose any illness. Absolutely no statements on this page have been approved by the FDA, so speak with your doctor before any new diet or supplement program.
To wrap things up, we don’t think we’ve found the “next DMAA” in terms of potency, but we’ve got something decent, new, and seemingly compliant on our hands.
So for the time being, this just might be the next best new thing, and for that reason, stim-junkies may want to give a product like Dexamine Black or SP250 a shot to feel it for themselves, with tempered enthusiasm.
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