Claire Squires died at London Marathon with now banned drug in her system
WHY did Claire Squires die on the London Marathon? The tabloids turned her into a hero, cynically using her death to push their own papers as forces of good. But while the papers grandstanded, £1million was raised in her memory for The Samaritans. Claire and her family did that. The papers just piggy-backed.
Now the coroner says the 30-year-old was found to have had traces of 1.3-dimethylamine (DMAA) in her system. The drug can be found in the energy supplement drink Jack3D. Claire Squires had dissolved some into her water bottle.
In 2012, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency banned DMAA. Anyone can buy Jack3D online, but it no longer contains the unlicensed substance. It’s banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Miss Squire’s partner, Simon van Herrewege, told media:
“The outcome of this inquest has left us feeling numb. Claire took part in the London Marathon to do some good and challenge herself, in the same way she did with many other events. Claire was passionately against the use of drugs and would never, ever, have taken anything that would have caused her harm or even worse risked her life. She innocently took a supplement which at the time was entirely legal, and widely available on the high-street, and somewhat worryingly, apparently used by so many others. It’s clear that there needs to be far better supervision of the so-called health foods and supplements industry so that no more tragedies like this happen again, causing other families to ever have to go through what we have been through this past year…
“Claire ended up getting a tub of this supplement Jack3D to give you a bit of an energy boost. It is a bit like caffeine. Claire never really got on with it. She never really liked it. She said she would take one scoop in her water bottle. She said that if, ‘I hit a bit of wall I will take it’.”
Coroner Dr Philip Barlow, at Southwark Coroner’s Court, said:
“Claire Squires died on April 22 at St Thomas’s Hospital after collapsing during the final stages of the London Marathon. She had taken a supplement containing DMAA which, on the balance of probabilities, in combination with extreme physical exertion caused acute cardiac failure, which resulted in her death.”
Tragic. But you can still buy the stuff on site, like this one in Australia:
DMAA Benefits for Fat Loss
There is some evidence to show that supplements containing DMAA can be effective when used as a fat burner. When combined with other ingredients such as caffeine, a commercial fat burner was found to have significantly decrease body weight, total fat, and appetite compared to those using a placebo (McCarthy et al, 2012a). It was also found that the rate of fat burning increased to over 169% compared to a placebo and the metabolic rate increased by 35% over the placebo (McCarthy et al, 2012b).
In February 2012, the drug was linked to two deaths:
DMAA had been identified in the toxicology reports of the two soldiers’ deaths. He added that the Army had also received some reports of liver and kidney failure, seizures, loss of consciousness and rapid heartbeat in other military personnel who have used products containing DMAA.
On 28 August 2012, the MHRA wrote:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has ruled that the popular DMAA containing sports supplement Jack3D is an unlicensed medicinal product and that it and all other DMAA containing products need to be removed from the UK market amid concerns of potential risks to public safety.
DMAA is most commonly used as a workout aid or weight-loss supplement and can have a physiological effect on the body narrowing the arteries and raising the heart rate; this has been linked to suspected adverse drug reactions worldwide, ranging from shortness of breath to heart attacks. It has also been linked to at least one fatality.
The MHRA has already issued eight urgent notices instructing retailers to remove the product and any other DMAA containing products from sale. The MHRA has recently taken action against a number of products presented as sports supplements that fall within the definition of a medicinal product because of the potent herbal ingredients they contained.
DMAA is also banned under the prohibited list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency and has been responsible for 137 doping violations worldwide.
David Carter, the Manager of the MHRA’s Medicines Borderline Section said:
“People need to be aware when choosing their sports supplements. These products may claim to increase performance but contain powerful ingredients which can have serious side-effects. We recommend that people only use approved products and speak to a qualified medical practitioner if they have any concerns about any supplements they may be taking.”
Graham Arthur, Director of Legal at UK Anti-Doping said:
“This is a significant step forward for all competitive athletes as methylhexaneamine (DMAA) is a banned substance ‘in-competition’ that frequently appears in over the counter and internet bought products but not clearly on the label. Athletes who use sports supplements need to choose reputable manufacturers who can justify their claims with scientific evidence, and have their products screened to minimise the risk of testing positive for a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. UK Anti-Doping continues to work closely with the MHRA to protect the health of athletes and to prevent doping in sport.“
Is the drug always fatal?
One of the manufacturers, USPlabs, says recent testing — during which subjects were given DMAA supplements for two weeks — confirmed that the product is safe.
“At the beginning and end of the study, blood pressure, heart rate and various indicators of renal and liver function were assessed. The study found that there were no statistically significant changes from baseline to the end of the study. No serious adverse events were noted,” the company said last month in a news release.
Running a marathon is not something to be taken lightly. If you feel a need for additives, is it wise to run at all?