Study: Diet supplement has meth-like chemical
October 14th, 2013
01:42 PM ET

Study: Diet supplement has meth-like chemical

Update (Tuesday 11:30 a.m. ET) - Driven Sports attorney Marc Ullman says Driven Sports suspended the production and sales of Craze several months ago while it investigated reports regarding the safety of Craze; the company does not currently have plans to resume production.

Less than a week after health officials asked stores to pull a fat-burning supplement from shelves, another dietary supplement is coming under fire.

Craze, a sports supplement marketed to bodybuilders, contains a chemical compound similar to the illegal drug methamphetamine, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed Drug Testing and Analysis journal. The substance, called N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine or N,a-DEPEA, has never been studied in humans, according to Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study.

Scientists tested three Craze samples from three different suppliers, according to the study. They found N,a-DEPEA in all three - about 20 to 35 milligrams of the drug in a serving size of the supplement. These dosages suggest it was "not a minor contaminant resulting from the manufacturing process," the study authors wrote.

N,a-DEPEA is a methamphetamine analog, Cohen said, or a "cousin" to meth. Scientists first discovered the new drug approximately three years ago in South Korea.

"Criminal-chemists start with a known drug - in this case methamphetamine, then in their factor they start making little changes to it," Cohen explained in an e-mail. "Here, they pop a few extra carbon and hydrogen molecules onto it. But the main structure/backbone/skeleton of the drug remains the same."

Craze labels list a different chemical, N,N-DEPEA, as an ingredient, Cohen said, but researchers did not find that substance in the supplement. He said it was unlikely that Craze's manufacturer, Driven Sports, was directly responsible for altering the chemical structure of the drug. The company may have purchased the substance in bulk from a distributor that claimed it was all natural, Cohen said.

Craze was given BodyBuilding.com's New Supplement of the Year award in 2012. Driven Sports attorney Marc Ullman said the company adamantly disputes the researchers' findings and believes there are serious flaws with the tests they ran.

"Craze is a legal supplement that provides people with a tool to enhance their workouts, by combining natural extracts to increase their energy," Driven Sports said in a statement. "Craze conforms to all U.S. federal regulatory requirements and is proven safe when used as directed... Driven Sports has commissioned extensive testing of Craze from a reputable, independent laboratory, which conclusively establishes that the product does not contain any illegal stimulants."

One of the samples used in the study was sent to the Food and Drug Administration last year; the study authors' conclusions were sent to the FDA in May. While the FDA is in charge of regulating dietary supplements, manufacturers and distributors are not required to get FDA approval before selling their products.

NSF International, a public health organization involved in the study, also found N,a-DEPEA in a different manufacturer's supplement, Cohen said. Gaspari Nutrition's Detonate seems to have been removed from the company's website and is no longer available on Amazon or other sellers' sites.

This isn't the first time Driven Sports' products have come under scrutiny. In July, USA Today published an investigative piece on supplement designer Matt Cahill, "a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death," the newspaper says.

soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. joseph Carlson

    where can i get this supplement .. I want this big time now

    October 14, 2013 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lawless4U

      I have to say that my interest has peeked as well. It may have recreational properties.

      With that being said, as far as using it for workout enhancement and weight loss.............what is wrong with eating healthy and just working out normally?

      October 14, 2013 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • Sam Adams

      requiem for a dream anyone?

      October 14, 2013 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • nepawoods

      Amazon has it but the price skyrocketed today in anticipation of prohibition.

      October 14, 2013 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
    • Craze PR Team

      You can get this product from our website, or go to your local slums and ask for meth, but that will be more expensive. You see the genius of our meth is that its hidden under a brand name. This may deceive many customers, but it is very obvious that craze is the meth.

      October 14, 2013 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
    • wuzzup

      Can this supplement be smoked?

      October 14, 2013 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I better quickly get my cocaine, meth, Adderall supplement mix ( with organic Bolivian milk proteins & Chia seeds) to market before the FDA and the Government reopen. .......boy am I going to make a killing.

      October 14, 2013 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    Interestingly Dimethylcarbonate will preferentially alpha methylate in the proper conditions. This could be a green chemistry snafu.

    October 14, 2013 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ThroesSpin

    Just like Jim Carrey's SNL product 'Ride The Snake'...


    October 14, 2013 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Martha C

      I totally forgot about "Ride The Snake"...hahahahaha! Just watched it, thanks for posting!

      October 14, 2013 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  4. Snail Guy

    I've been running a little slow lately. Maybe this is the pick me up I need.

    Facebook: Snail Guy

    October 14, 2013 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. truthbetold

    Just say no to drugs!!! Get out and walk and eat in moderation to get the weight off. These drugs are not regulated and will eventually kill you.

    October 14, 2013 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Example

      Yeah, well this is marketed to those who wish to put weight ON. As a fat burner, it gives the lifter an extra edge in losing fat without sacrificing muscle. You can't be a bodybuilder and marathoner.

      October 14, 2013 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • Justin H

      Steroid/supplement users are rarely the guys cutting corners. They are the guys at the gym every day, but there are so many hours in a day and so many steaks a human can eat...enter serious/supplements.

      If you are not using it to compete in a sport that deems it unfair, weigh the risks and make the call for yourself.

      October 14, 2013 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Informer

      yeah, much like all the approved pharms that the FDA (Federal Death Administration) has deemed okay to be introduced to the public without long term testing ... and marijuana is still illegal? Another reason that which proves this country is ran by psychopaths.

      October 14, 2013 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
  6. MikeS

    I took craze...
    You get ridiculous lifts in. Each time you go to the gym you talk to no-one and have the most intense workout.
    We even joked that it probably had meth. I stopped taking it after I couldn't sleep after taking it and repeatedly had panic attacks (something I had not previously experienced).
    No surprise here on the above.

    October 14, 2013 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JD

    this "study" is not correct, the company, Driven Sports, has done non-mandated tests of the supplement and nothing has been found. please do proper research before assuming: http://drivensports.com/20130725385/Driven-Sports-Blog/statement-about-usa-today-article

    October 14, 2013 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC

      From the manufacturers link you posted: "the product does not contain any illegal stimulants". This is correct. The methamphatemine analog drug contained in this supplement is not illegal (yet).

      October 14, 2013 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • Kbkbkb

      Yea, it's always better to trust a profit driven company's word on it's own product over the results from an independent regulatory body. We all know that a profit driven company would have no motivation to manipulate their experiment or results. Just blindly place your trust in private corporations, everyone. I totally promise that they value your health and well-being over their profit.


      October 14, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Thanks for the input, Matt Cahill.

      October 14, 2013 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • sportsmedic22

      Information from the USA Today article comes from three different labs in Sweden, South Korea and the U.S.

      October 14, 2013 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Haha, don't believe the Harvard scientists or the USADA about testing and proving it has a meth like substance in it, believe the exact same guys with RECORDS of selling risky dietary supplements. I would not believe anything from their website anymore man...

      October 14, 2013 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff6187

    It's disturbing ... Sections of our Federal Government can micro-manage some aspects of daily life where they have absolutely NO business intruding. Yet the FDA has no authority to rein in a company who is clearly playing the percentages. They KNOW that MOST of the people who take their drug will buy it again (and again) for it's positive aspects in working out; that MANY people will buy it again for it's other "positive" (ie. Meth-like) properties; and SOME people will have addictions created that never were, or existing addiction problems re-ignited, and a SOME of these will suffer substantial adverse side effects. Yet as long as the $$ roll in, who cares who gets hurt.

    October 14, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sshogrin

      Anything labeled as a "supplement" doesn't have to go through the FDA. There's a major problem with the system...quite frankly the FDA should have to test and approve any dietary supplement. Energy drinks aren't actually FDA approved, nor have they been tested by the FDA.

      October 14, 2013 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Informer

      and you trust the FDA? you know how many approved drugs have ended up killing hundreds, if not thousands of people, removed from the market... then a year or so later, allowed back into the market without real extensive testing on their 'new and improved' drug? war on drugs has done nothing but increased the amount in circulation and cost us tax payers millions... all the while 'legal drugs' that which kill more than some illegal drugs, still is allowed to stay in the market, why? special interests with big bucks who don't have your own interests in their hearts nor care... this is the method of their madness... (you have these symptoms: XYZ. Take this pill for them (nevermind we didnt do extensive testing on the potential harmful effects)) all the while never actually treating the cause. Western medicine FTL

      October 14, 2013 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  9. Wolfcastle


    October 14, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Abdoul

    Ya but the worse part is that it contains the drug creatine.

    This stuff kills.

    October 14, 2013 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whawawaht?!?

      Nice troll, bro.

      For the rest, Creatine is common, and in most protein you eat already. But is sounds scary.

      October 14, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  11. Me

    I wish CNN would pick one comment mechanism and stick with it. Why isn't this page using Disqus?

    October 14, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Furball

      So so true

      October 14, 2013 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  12. stanz ololol

    I like to wrap my craze up in a latex condom lube it up and shove it in my my rear. Brb makin all kindzzzz of gainzzzz

    October 14, 2013 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. mike hunt

    this kind of stuff is stupid. its like when they say mt dew contains the same chemical used in flame retardants. Guess what else is used in flame retardants and mt dew, WATER! just becuase something is chemically similar or has an ingredeant used in something bad doesnt mean its the same thing or that its bad too.

    October 14, 2013 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Reverend J

    Read the paper (all of 2 pages) and it's pretty sloppy. The notion that it's a "cousin" of methamphetamine doesn't mean squat. The R-isomer of methamphetamine is extremely addictive and dangerous, the S-isomer is used in vicks vapor rub. This molecule is larger by 2 carbons and is a racemic mixture, so if there are any psychotropic effects they'll be limited at best, even the author admits that. There's a whole hype and not a lot of substance in this paper.

    October 14, 2013 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Great. So users will only get a "limited" meth buzz.

      October 14, 2013 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
    • buzzkill


      October 14, 2013 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
  15. chessbrah

    sloots gonna sloot.

    October 14, 2013 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. butBRAH

    Gonna go get some of this to finally start my own methlab1

    October 14, 2013 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Portland tony

    If you depend on the government to decide what drug ( including stimulants) is effective, just look back to the 60's thru the 80's when everyone who was a "LB" overweight was taking diet pills AKA "Mother's little helpers" (amphetamines) in some form daily. Employers used to give them to employees to increase productivity and keep workers alert during 12 hr shifts. Now amphetamines banned by the FDA for weight control, the Illicit stimulant drug of choice is now Meth (Think Breaking Bad) made in the toilet in a trailer park. So what's good for one generation is bad for the next.

    October 14, 2013 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. mommaG

    A potentially dangerous drug without restriction and EASY for teens to get and misuse!! Side effects of product 5yrs out unknown!! Maybe FDA cannot control but restricting age of person able to buy these products would help... label says not reccommended for use by consumer under 16 yrs old but NO LAW to enforce restriction... drinking age still 21 but who needs alcohol when companies continue to make this CRAP available to everyone who has the $$!!! No-one will do anything even IF KIDS DIE from it!!!

    October 14, 2013 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whocares

      Think of the children!!!!!!1!1!1!!!!!

      October 14, 2013 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
  19. mary

    A diet preparation has speed in it? Say it isn't so!!! Such a dumbuttt article.

    October 14, 2013 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Hugh Myron

    Bodybuilder here. I pick up all kindzz of poosy thanks to craze.

    only thing COHEN's ever picked up is a mircoscope

    October 14, 2013 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. High as a kite

    It's over. Can't get it online now. Gonna have to go to the dep web and Tor to find these pups.

    October 14, 2013 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Walter White

    Where can I steal...er...buy this in bulk?

    October 14, 2013 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Heisenberg

    It'd be all find and dandy to side with this company, if the owner didn't go to prison previously for putting in non-tested compounds in two of his previous products. I can't believe you guys are supporting this trash company.

    October 14, 2013 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Heisenberg


    "Cahill has served time in federal prison and is now facing another federal charge" He's served a two year sentence in the past.

    October 14, 2013 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. DonL

    I've been using Creatine, Whey Protien and DS Craze since Feb. I'm 54 and the results are good. I don't get those withdrawl headaches I did with Rockstars, Amp or Nos. Bodybuilding is always on the cutting edge of performance supplements and it's these damn drug addicts looking for an easy high. Legalize all drugs, open up more treatment centers and keep educating people. What happened to individual responsibility?

    October 14, 2013 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Personal responsibility pretty much goes straight out the window when it encounters addictive substances.

      October 14, 2013 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • DonL

      Then we must ban Oreos.

      October 16, 2013 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  26. Walter White

    Say my name!

    October 14, 2013 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mr. Breeze

    Here is interesting info on pepsi/diet pepsi: When regular pepsi goes past its sale date, it is sold/given to hog farmers and mixed with feed for cheap calories. While Diet Pepsi, past its sale date, is taken to 'toxic waste' disposal facilities........

    October 14, 2013 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gustavo Pring


      October 14, 2013 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  28. patriciaange

    Reblogged this on Sex and Relationships.

    October 14, 2013 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Ray

    It's articles like this that rob CNN of any credibility when they discuss science.

    That is, primarily to the fact that their writers are scientifically illiterate. The fact that the chemical has backbone similarities to methamphetamine (also known as Adderall, hint hint), may or may not give it pharmacological properties similar to meth. For example, i have seen pieces by journalists who seem to erroneously equate 'methadone' to 'methamphetamine', referring to both interchangeably as 'meth'.

    I have found the primary literature/abstract thereof in which they first describe this 'drug', this is where actual information is contained':


    ^took me 5 seconds on google

    October 14, 2013 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      You seem angry, but uncertain what it is you're trying to say.

      October 14, 2013 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      You need to lay off whatever substance you're abusing, because you are lost, ray.

      October 14, 2013 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      I simply disagree with how hard sciences are interpreted through simple media. I have a degree and I do biochemistry research, I guess it is part of scientific nature to be skeptical and critical. I question the credentials of someone with a degree in journalism misinterpreting facts and complex medical/scientific/etc problems.

      To appease Joe, more succinctly my point is to question the veracity of sensationalist pieces of journalism like this.

      October 14, 2013 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  30. mike b

    so lemme get this straight.. if you know some scientists, pay the IRS handsomely and slap a sticker on it that promotes health and fitness.. its not a drug? because i just thought it was just any "mind altering" substance.

    October 14, 2013 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Alex

    Thank You Sen Orrin Hatch for exempting supplements from FDA regulations. It is only after complaints and/or deaths that FDA can investigate the efficacy or hazards of a supplement. Sen Hatch pushed this to protect his son's business, Nature Made. He put the financial well being of his son over the physical well being of Americans. Thank You Senator for your service.

    October 14, 2013 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mirin

    Does anyone here even lift?

    October 14, 2013 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wolfcastle


      October 14, 2013 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
  33. cmcwebsite

    Breaking Bod

    October 14, 2013 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. James Wrustle

    I'm actually a PhD student in Biochemistry at the University of Illinoise and have done research with highly published Physicist Lane Nordstram and we found in our findings that Craze can ACTUALLY cause a reduction of hypoglandalism in the thyroids if used concurrently with the dangerous chemical known as creatine.

    October 14, 2013 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DonL

      What is Hypoglandalism? Did you possibly mean Hypogonadism?

      October 14, 2013 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
    • otherside

      Illinoise??? "We found in our findings"? physicist Lane Hordstam? Your post sounds like *BS

      October 14, 2013 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • DonL

      Punked again...I hate that.

      October 14, 2013 at 20:02 | Report abuse |
  35. Fiona

    Given that so many people think that if a little is good, more is better, that level of drug per recommended serving is even more dangerous than it sounds.

    October 14, 2013 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. BBC

    I'm 12 what is this.

    October 14, 2013 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. zyzz

    methbrah confrims

    October 14, 2013 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ProudManlet

    Craze shaped me into the man I am today. I grew one inch a month for 12 months.

    October 14, 2013 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RoddoRudder

    So the FDA allows stuff like this to be placed on shelves for HUMAN use without any testing!!!! FDA is at fault for most of these human effects and medication problems. The FDA needs to be shutdown....Oh wait they are...

    October 14, 2013 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. WitnessTheFonz

    Breaking Fat

    October 14, 2013 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Bigbrotha is everywhere

    This is laughable and now I have to worry about the ped nerd police in my bedroom...I mean life?

    October 14, 2013 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Bigbrotha is everywhere

    Buy a reporter to railroad a company, well done

    October 14, 2013 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Craze PR Team

    Meth like substance? No, it is meth. Just a small dose which harmless to the human body.

    October 14, 2013 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. tony

    Another great score for Roanald Reagan and "Let the drug manudfacturers do their own testing" And the supplement biz none at all.

    October 14, 2013 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Jimmy Russels

    so craze is like meth...
    water is pretty similar to hydrogen peroxide, the HP has an extra oxygen molecule.
    only one will kill you if you drink it.

    Personally I inject craze into my chest, I feel it gives me the best chest pump. If craze kills me I can die happy knowing I'll have an awesome chest pump

    October 14, 2013 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jesse Pinkman

    ay mayne, u wanna buy some meth? Thats good man, thats REAL GOOD. You just found one of the best meth dealers up in dis...


    sup err body. Walter White here.

    October 14, 2013 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. anonymous

    I think it's ridiculous that meth is a lower schedule drug than weed. Methamphetamine isn't an inherently bad chemical, but taking it in excess or at all for most people is probably a bad thing. But it can help people if monitored through a prescription. Yes, there is such a thing as rx methamphetamine, brand name desoxyn. I take it and haven't had any dependency issues in about 4 years (I go off of it for about 2 months a year, just to make sure)...Not for everyone or every condition, obviously, but methamphetamine can help some people alot.

    October 14, 2013 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. mmmgood

    Strange article that completely contradicts itself. It quotes in the middle that "it was unlikely that Craze's manufacturer, Driven Sports, was directly responsible for altering the chemical structure of the drug." Then it quotes "In July, USA Today published an investigative piece on supplement designer Matt Cahill (the man behind Driven Sports) which described him as, "a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death." So Driven Sports is perhaps an innocent victim AND a company run by a man who is a convicted felon with a history of selling these types of risky supplements? Sorry, but IMHO it doesn't seem likely that both of those quotes in the article are true. A little investigation may prove one statement to easily be shown as fact with the other being just a rumor and/or opinion generated to protect the guilty.

    October 14, 2013 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mike

    So, bulk manufacturers get no blame for selling meth wholesale, off the label in order to make a buck. Meanwhile, we ordinary people get treated like criminal drug manufacturers and carded to buy simple antihistamines.

    October 14, 2013 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. MilkSteak

    I tried this a few time and still have a pretty much full bottle. It is intense. I just couldnt take it anymore. Up until 3-4am, uneasy awake feeling, scattered mile a min thoughts, hard and fast heartbeat, and other things. It was just too much, now I know why.

    October 14, 2013 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • YouDerpTard

      some supps aren't for everyone. SOme can't even take fiber bars without issues. Everyone's body is different. That' the main reason ephedra was taken off the market. Derpy morons would pop them like candy then go out in humid 90+ degree weather with 5 layers of clothes in order to lose weight. They would have strokes and lose their lives.

      October 15, 2013 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
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