Vitamin Shoppe to Stop Sale of 11 Controversial Supplements

Some vitamin stores, like Vitamin Shoppe, announced that they will stop selling a group of supplements that may contain a dangerous stimulant, BMPEA. This plan to stop selling all supplement containing acacia rigidula came after a study published on Tuesday in the Journal of Drug Testing and Analysis.


The Study: Amphetamine-Like Stimulant

Study reported that 11 supplements containing the plant, acacia rigidula, also contained BMPEA — an amphetamine-like stimulant. The bottles all listed acacia rigidula on labels.

After news of this “secret” ingredient, Vitamin Shoppe is pulling all products containing acacia rigidula from 700 retail stores and their website. At least 3 supplements sold there contain this ingredient. It's great to see both brands err on the side of caution. VitaCost, another vitamin and supplement retailer, will also suspend sales of products named in the study. 

Researchers first synthesized BMPEA in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamine but never fully studied in humans. 

Under federal law, this is not an authorized dietary supplement ingredient. However, despite companies illegally spiking products with synthetic drug, BMPEA, FDA says that in its review of the available info “does not identify a specific safety concern at this time.”

Products Containing BMPEA Stimulant

  • JetFuel T-300 – 31 mg of BMPEA
  • Fastin XR – 27 mg
  • Yellow Scorpion – 23 mg
  • Black Widow – 19 mg
  • Lipodrene Hardcore – 10 mg
  • ARO Burn – 9 mg
  • Dexaprine XR – 6 mg
  • Lipodrene Xtreme – 3 mg
  • MX-LST – 3 mg
  • JET Fuel Superburn – 3 mg
  • Stimerex ES – 1 mg

BMPEA Causes

BMPEA chemical could cause strokes and other serious cardiovascular complications.


Amphetamine stimulants can:

  • increase blood pressure
  • Increase heart rate
  • Increase body temperature
  • Lead to serious cardiovascular complications (including stroke) at high doses
  • Suppress sleep
  • Suppress appetite
  • Be addictive

Information is Not New

In 2013 the FDA discovered that some weight-loss supplements sold in the US containing acacia rigidula also secretly contained BMPEA.

FDA found BMPEA in at least 9 products but never named products or warned consumers about risk. They also didn't ask companies to remove the stimulant from products. 

Can We Trust Vitamins?

This issue is part of a larger problem. The FDA is not effectively policing the $33 billion per year supplements industry. Speculation of a conflict of interest has arisen due to some regulators coming from the supplements industry. Two top FDA officials overseeing supplements, including one currently on the job, were former leaders of the largest supplement industry trade and lobbying group. Daniel Fabricant (ran FDA division of dietary supplement programs) was an executive at Natural Products Association, which lobbied against new laws to hold supplement makers to stricter standards.

These factors are putting the public in danger, rather than taking responsibility and getting these products off the market, or stopping them before they even get into stores

As with other contaminated products, a health alert to consumers should be issued, as well as a recall on these products. Buyers could be thinking they are using natural products, when in reality they are taking stimulants

It seems companies are trying to dupe the public into thinking obscure herbs are helping with health and weight loss, when they are really just spiked with uppers. Supplements do not have to undergo federal reviews of their safety or effectiveness before they are sold to the public

As a result, tainted supplements are usually pulled from the market only after consumers are harmed.