Just last year, Bodybuilding.com named New York-based Driven Sports’ pre-workout powder “Craze” the Website’s “New Supplement of the Year” award. Today, the product is no longer available on that site. Not because the product is sold out (although it has sold out several times), but because of a USA Today report that showed the formula to contain drugs similar to methamphetamine.
According to the USA Today, labs began testing Craze after several athletes tested positive for amphetamines. After close evaluation by labs in the U.S. and in South Korea, it was determined that Craze didn’t contain amphetamines, but rather a substance that is a close cousin, chemically speaking. That compound, which is not listed on Craze’s ingredients list, is N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine (NADEP) which is somewhere between ephedrine, which is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and methamphetamine itself. What is listed on Craze’s ingredient list is dendrobium orchid extract, although researchers say there has never been proof that NADEP could be synthesized from it.
The controversy over Craze’s coumpounds and their safety isn’t anything new to Driven Sports founder Matt Cahill. Cahill is facing federal charges for an estrogen-reducing supplement that he produced called Rebound XT. Cahill and Driven Sports of coarse deny all the allegations that Craze contains meth-like compounds, pointing to their own lab results that were done by a DEA Certified Lab.
Besides Craze, the diet and weight loss supplement Detonate which is sold by Gaspari Nutrition was also found to contain NADEP. Like Craze, it too labeled itself as containing dedrobium orchid extract. Gasperi Nutrition couldn’t be reached for comment by reporters at the USA Today.
Because of the USA Today report and because of the scientific journal by the U.S. and South Korean researchers, Craze has been taken off the shelves from Walmart and several other retailers like Bodybuilding.com as well. Other supplement stores like GNC, however, still carry it and remains a popular, although now controversial, supplement among bodybuilders and gym rats. In fact, Driven Sports’ Website says the product is out of stock and currently unavailable.
So what makes a possibly dangerous compound like Craze so popular? Well, for the same reasons it is dangerous, it is also advantageous in the gym. If Craze acts like an amphetamine, then it will increase the heart rate and thus give more energy for your workout by supplying blood to the muscles faster. It will also cause the mind to be more singularly focused and help you give all your concentration to your workout. It would also work as an appetite suppressant while also increasing the metabolic rate to help you burn fat and loose weight. Of coarse, these advantages come with risks – heart attack being the most severe.
“These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there’s absolutely no guarantee of quality control,” said Pieter Cohen in an interview with the USA Today. Cohen is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis of Craze samples being published today in the scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis. “It has never been studied in the human body. Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown.”