Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina) Berries

Higenamine: Banned from Sport but Sold in Supplements

The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned a stimulant called higenamine. It’s present in the berries of a poisonous plant found everywhere in the south – nandina. Also, you’ll find it in many dietary supplements sold for weight loss and workouts. But a new study in Clinical Toxicology raises even more questions about this banned stimulant.

Labeling that Tells You Nothing

Pieter Cohen and colleagues examined 24 dietary supplement products labeled with higenamine. Slightly less than half of the products were for weight loss. The same number were for sports and energy. Two of them listed no reason for using them. (They got that right.)

Cohen et al analyzed these samples to determine how much higenamine was in them. What they found was startling. The amounts of this potentially dangerous drug in every one of these products is totally unpredictable. It might be negligible. Or it might far exceed the doses ever studied in humans.

Only five of the 24 products even listed an amount of higenamine on the label. But for every one of those five products, the amount was wrong. In other words, if you buy one of these products you don’t know what you’re getting.

All Risk and No Benefit

And even if you knew how much higenamine was in it, there’s one thing you’re almost surely not going to get. Any hope of a benefit. Buying this stuff is like buying magic beans. Except you won’t even get a beanstalk. And you surely won’t get any meaningful weight loss. All you get is a risk for dangerous cardiovascular effects.

No way should any reputable pharmacy stock these scammy products. They shouldn’t even be legal.

Click here for the study and here for further perspective.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina) Berries, photograph © DannyDanSoy / flickr

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Month dd, 2018