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Meth-Like Compound Discovered in Popular Sports Supplement

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USA TODAY
October 14, 2013 Monday
FA CHASE EDITION
NEWS; Pg. 1A
512 words
Meth-like chemical in sports powder;
Tests find compound in popular workout, weight-loss supplement
Alison Young, USA TODAY,

A popular sports supplement widely sold in the USA and other countries is secretly spiked with a chemical similar to methamphetamine, according to new tests by scientists in the USA and South Korea.

Test results on samples of Craze, a pre-workout powder made by New York-based Driven Sports and marketed as containing only natural ingredients, raise significant health and regulatory concerns, the researchers said.

The U.S. researchers also said they found the same methamphetamine-like chemical in another supplement, Detonate, which is sold as an all-natural weight-loss pill by another company, Gaspari Nutrition.

"It has never been studied in the human body," said Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School, a co-author of the analysis of Craze samples being published today in the scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

Craze, which is marketed as giving "unrelenting energy and focus" in workouts, was named 2012's "New Supplement of the Year" by Bodybuilding.com. A USA TODAY investigation published in July reported on other tests detecting amphetamine-like compounds in Craze.

While Walmart.com and several online retailers have stopped selling Craze in the wake of USA TODAY's investigation, the product has continued to be sold elsewhere online and in GNC stores. Detonate is sold by online retailers.

An attorney for Driven Sports, Marc Ullman, said the company had no comment on the latest findings. Driven Sports has posted test results on its website that it says prove Craze does not contain any amphetamine-like compounds. In July, USA TODAY revealed that a top Driven Sports official -- Matt Cahill -- is a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements.

Officials at Gaspari Nutrition in Lakewood, N.J., did not respond to interview requests. Because of the federal government shutdown, officials with the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees dietary supplements, could not be reached.

Cohen said researchers informed the FDA in May about finding the new chemical compound in Craze. The team said the compound -- N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine -- has a structure similar to methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant drug. They believe the new compound is likely less potent than methamphetamine but stronger than ephedrine.

The same meth-like compound has also been found in samples of Craze by a team of researchers from the National Forensic Service in South Korea, according to an article they published in August in a forensic toxicology journal. They noted that the compound was the same as one found in a crystalline powder shipped from Vietnam to South Korea and seized by narcotics agents in December 2011 as a suspected illicit designer drug.

Although not part of today's journal article, NSF International -- a Michigan-based testing organization whose scientist co-authored the article -- announced that in separate testing, it also has detected the same meth-like compound in the weight-loss supplement Detonate. "Regulators may want to consider taking action to warn consumers," NSF International said in a statement.

October 14, 2013

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