Supplement analysis

The Column

The Column, The Column-07-18-2012, Volume 8, Issue 13
Pages: 5

Methylhexaneamine (MHA) has been in the news recently and it continues to be debated whether it is actually a constituent of geranium.

Methylhexaneamine (MHA) has been in the news recently and it continues to be debated whether it is actually a constituent of geranium. In a comprehensive analysis, a team of scientists has presented evidence that it is not present in the plant in detectable amounts.1

MHA has been marketed as a dietary supplement based on the argument that it is a constituent of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) leaves, stems, roots or oil. The team developed two analytical methods for the analysis of MHA in P. graveolens using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS–MS). The results were further confirmed using liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry. Twenty commercial volatile oils, three authenticated volatile oils and authenticated P. graveolens leaves and stems were analysed. In addition, three dietary supplements containing MHA which claimed P. graveolens as the source were analysed for their MHA content.

The results obtained demonstrated that none of the authenticated P. graveolens essential oils or plant material, nor the commercial volatile oils of contained MHA at detectable levels (limit of detection = 10 ppb). In contrast, the dietary supplements that contained MHA as one of their ingredients contained very large amounts of MHA. These amounts are not compatible with the use of reasonable amounts of P. graveolens extract or concentrate. The team ultimately concluded that this must be because the MHA was of a synthetic origin.

Mahmoud A. ElSohly et al., Journal of Analytical Toxicology doi: 10.1093/jat/bks055 (2012).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.