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Special Report: Dangerous Workout Supplements
DAYTON -- Widely popular workout supplements are under the microscope, and linked to at least two deaths.
Peter Slonkosky is a workout enthusiast who has been taking dietary supplements for years to boost his workouts.
One of the most powerful supplements he's ever taken is a product called jack3d, pronounced "jacked."
"It gets you energized a lot. There were days where I didn't feel like working out, it's a boost of energy," Slonkosky said.
Jack3d and other popular products like Oxy Elite Pro, contain dimethylamylamine or DMAA for short.
The supplements promise strength, energy, power and endurance, but they also come with many warnings on the packaging, like you should never take it for longer than eight weeks or use it more than five times a week.
"I'm like every other person. I ignored that and just would take a can, another can, and another can, I just wouldn't get off of it," Slonkosky said.
"If it accelerates your heart rate, if it's beating too fast, you can pass out and die," Dr. Harvey Hahn said. He is the director of cardiovascular fellowship training at Kettering Medical Center.
Hahn said supplements with any amount of DMAA can be dangerous.
"Since it's a stimulant it would be similar to taking a little bit of speed or cocaine. I don't think there is a safe level that we know of," Hahn said.
Hahn isn't surprised jack3d has been linked to at least two deaths across the country.
"You're going to have a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure and that could lead to irregular heart rhythms, heart attacks or strokes."
Products containing DMAA have been banned in the U.S. Military, in the NCAA, Major League Baseball, and you can't even buy it in Britain or Canada.
However, products with DMAA are sold here in the U.S. at several retailers nationwide.
"It's very common, you can get it anywhere, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Vitamin World, there are so many stores that sell them," Slonkosky said.
He has learned of the serious health risks associated with DMAA, and he's now stopped taking jack3d, and looks to healthier alternatives, and wants others to do the same.
"I would say be careful with the supplements you take and do some research."
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against USPlabs, the company who makes jack3d.
USPlabs is fighting back and released a statement and said "the company is unaware of anyone that has died while using their products in accordance with the labels directions."
The company now makes a version of jack3d without DMAA.
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