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Ephedrine's Use and Effectiveness as a Weight Loss Supplement
Can I really lose weight by using ephedrine products?
Ma Huang (Ephedrine) has been shown to increase the effectiveness of thermogenesis (fat burning) in the body. It contributes to the release and blocks the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This gives norepinephrine the ability to continuously stimulate receptors in your body, causing fat cell "flood gates" to open and facilitate fat loss resulting in weight loss.
Not only does ephedrine increase the rate at which fat is lost, it preserves muscle at the same time, making it an ideal dieting aid for athletes. The most comprehensive look at ephedrine for weight loss is a recent meta-analysis published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. This meta-analysis was done by the request of the US Department of Health and Human Services. It reviewed 44 controlled trials on the use of ephedrine for weight loss. It found that on average, it increased weight loss 1.3 lbs. per month more than placebo. However, combinations of ephedrine or ephedra with caffeine or herbs containing caffeine resulted in an average weight loss of 2.2 lbs. per month. Through nutrient repartitioning, ephedrine promotes fat loss while preserving fat-free mass.
One of the reasons why it is such a powerful weight loss agent is that it operates through a variety of mechanisms, including increasing levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, and stimulating both alpha and beta adrenoreceptors. It (through facilitating the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline) stimulates the alpha(1)-adrenoreceptor subtype, which is known to induce hypophagia (appetite suppression). It is estimated that appetite supression accounts for 75-80% of the weight loss with ephedrine.
What is Ephedrine?
Ma Huang (Ephedrine) is known as one of the world's oldest medicines. Ma Huang (Ephedrine) is a member of the family of herbs known as the Ephedraceae. Ma Huang is a shrub-like plant found in desert regions throughout the world. It is distributed from northern China to Inner Mongolia. The dried green stems of the three Asian species (Ephedra sinica, Ephedra intermedia, Ephedra equisetina) are used medicinally. The North American species of ephedra, sometimes called Desert Tea or Mormon Tea, does not appear to contain the active ingredients of its Asian ephedra counterparts.
Ephedrine is a naturally occuring central nervous system stimulant obtained from the plant Ephedra equisetina. Ephedrine is produced by chemical synthesis, the synthetic product being marketed in the form of its salt, ephedrine sulfate; it occurs as a white crystalline powder with a bitter taste, soluble in water and very soluble in alcohol. Ephedrine's peripheral stimulant actions are similar to but less powerful than those of epinephrine (also called adrenaline), a hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands.
What is Ephedrine used for?
Ephedrine has been used in China for more than 5,000 years to treat symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections. It has also been used in the treatment of headaches, fevers, colds, and hay fever. Today, compounds derived from this herb are commonly found in many over-the-counter (OTC) cold and allergy medications. Ma Huang is also found in some weight loss and energy products. For dieters, Ephedrine suppresses the appetite and stimulates metabolism through a process known as thermogenesis. Recently, Ma Huang has been the subject of scientific research for obesity because of this thermogenic fat-burning effect. It is used to increase heart rate, blood pressure and performance. This is normally released by your body under stress to enhance sports performance.
Ephedrine has moderately potent bronchial muscle relaxant properties, and therefore is used for symptomatic relief in milder cases of asthmatic attack; it is also used to reduce the risk of acute attacks in the treatment of chronic asthma. Ephedrine is also used to treat low blood pressure, because it constricts blood vessels and stimulates certain actions of the heart.
What are the side effects?
Some of the more common side effects people experience from taking the drug are nervousness, dizziness, tremors, rapid heart rate, headaches, jitters, palpitations, insomnia, increased blood pressure. When taken at higher levels, ephedra can cause drastic increases in blood pressure, as well as cardiac arrhythmias. Discontinue use if you experience any side effects.
Do not use this ephedrine weight loss product if you are now taking a prescription containing Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) (Certain drugs for depression, psychiatric or emotional conditions, Parkinson's disease) or 2 weeks after stopping the MAOI drug. If you are uncertain whether your prescription drug contains an MAOI, consult a health professional before taking this product. Do not store above 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). Protect from moisture.
What is an ECA stack?
The ECA Stack is a component found in thermogenic weight loss pills, composed of ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin working to speed up the metabolism and thus cause calories to burn faster and result in weight loss. Anyone with high blood pressure or heart problems should not take the stack.
Benefits of Ephedrine
• ephedrine increases metabolism
• ephedrine suppresses appetite
• ephedrine preserves muscle tissue
• ephedrine treats symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections
What about the law and Ephedrine use?
Laws for Ephedrine use differ in every country. It is your responsiblity to check with your Customs office if Ephedrine and Ephedra products are permitted in your country. Currently in the UK, ephedrine is legal under the the Misuse of Drugs Act and there are no penalties for possession of small amounts.
About the Author: Chester is a health nutrition consultant and is the owner of AstroNutrition - a provider of premium health nutrition and sports supplements.