Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Fitness health centre

This article is from the WebMD News Archive

Marathon runners face supplements warning

Advice on legal supplements will be issued after the inquest into a runner in London's 2012 marathon
WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Farah Ahmed

31st January 2013 - Runners taking part in future London Marathons are to be warned about the possible dangers of taking legal stimulants to boost performance, it has emerged.

It follows an inquest into the death of Claire Squires, 30, at the 2012 event after she had taken an amphetamine-like drug which she bought legally on-line. The hairdresser from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, had purchased the product - Jack3D - in advance of the race in order to boost her energy levels, her boyfriend Simon van Herrewege told the inquest into her death at Southwark Coroner's Court.

Active ingredient: DMAA

Coroner Dr Philip Barlow said the athlete was not a regular user of the supplement Jack3D, but that significant levels of its active ingredient, 1,3-dimethylamine (DMAA), were found within her system.

Ms Squires collapsed in front of spectators just a mile from the finishing line in Birdcage Walk. The court heard she died of cardiac failure caused by extreme exertion, complicated by DMAA toxicity.

In August last year, several popular workout supplements containing DMAA were withdrawn from the uncontrolled market by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it ruled that the ingredient could pose a threat to health.

Blood pressure, haemorrhage and stroke

DMAA has been linked to cases of high blood pressure, nausea, cerebral haemorrhage and stroke. Last year the Australian Government banned the use of DMAA after a coroner ruled that a man died from taking the substance which he had bought over the internet.

Other countries have imposed similar bans, including those in the European Union. 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.

Speaking after the inquest Mr van Herrewege said: "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."

He added: "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 happen like this again."


Professor Sanjay Sharma, consultant cardiologist at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and medical director of the London Marathon tells BootsWebMD that runners will be given advice about the possible dangers of supplements in future events. "We have already drafted advice and this will feature as part of medical information to all participants," he says.

Reviewed on January 31, 2013

Diet and weight loss newsletter

Weight loss tips delivered to your inbox
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
man in mirror
How smoking affects your looks & life
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
man holding sore neck
Could you have a hormone imbalance?
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman holding mouth
Common mouth problems
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
Allergy myths and facts
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver