WASHINGTON – The workout dietary supplement Jack3d, pronounced “jacked,” is being reviewed by the U.S. Army after two soldiers died during exercise in 2011.
While the Army is currently investigating the supplement, the family of Michael Sparling, one of the soldiers who died, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego this week against the developer, USPlabs, and the seller, GNC.
The problem is the ingredient dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. The stimulant narrows blood vessels and arteries, raises blood pressure and may cause heart attacks.
“When you place a stimulant on top of a high-intensity workout, it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” says D.C. fitness trainer Kimberly Linton. “The reward is small compared to the risk.”
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued 12 war ning letters to companies that manufacture and distribute products containing DMAA, according to FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward.
The letters stated that the FDA “is not aware of evidence or history of use to indicate that DMAA is safe.”
But Ward says the issue is still being investigated.
In a statement to the New York Times, USPlabs said Jack3d is not dangerous when used as directed.
Jack3d advertisements claim the supplement increases strength, speed and endurance. However, local personal trainer Fairfax Hackley says it can cause harm.
“It’s like if you have a gas tank and you want to put a booster in your gas,” he says. “Well, that’s only contingent upon how well your car can handle that extra oomph.”