Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Ephedra Is Back - But Is It Safe?


It's been called the world's oldest medicine, the miracle fat burner, and is known in some parts of the U.S. as "Mormon tea." Ephedra (also called Ma-huang or epitonin) has been used for its healing powers for more than 5000 years by the Chinese, who discovered the plant's healing properties. So why was it banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004, and more importantly, why was the ban recently lifted?

What is Ephedra?

Ephedra grows all over the world, and in the Western United States, this flowering shrub can be found in deserts and sagebrush areas. The plant can be ground into powder for capsules, or dried and used in tea. Ephedrine is the "active" ingredient in ephedra, responsible for its healing properties. Ephedrine is a nerve stimulant similar to adrenaline, but not as strong as amphetamine.

What Does It Do?

Dieters have long known the powerful effects of ephedra in promoting weight loss. Basically, ephedrine creates a thermogenic response, speeding up metabolism and expediting the body's fat burning rate while preserving muscle. Ephedra has proved to be particularly effective for people with a slow metabolism, who have previously had trouble losing weight.

Additionally, ephedrine can be used to treat bronchial asthma and cough by relaxing the air passages in the lungs. For this same reason, the plant is helpful in treating the effects allergies and hay fever. Ephedra can assist in fighting a minor cold by causing perspiration and urination (to relieve swelling and fluid retention). Alternative uses for ephedra include treating muscle and joint conditions such as bursitis, arthritis, and rheumatism. A synthetic (man-made) replacement, called pseudoephedrine, was created and is widely used in common over-the-counter medications such as Sudafed.

Why the Ban?

Possible side effects of ephedrine include insomnia, dry mouth, nervousness, general weakness, poor digestion, irritability, headache, dizziness, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heart palpitations. Not surprisingly, this list is markedly similar to over-the-counter medications with the active ingredient pseudoephedrine.

Some argue that the pharmaceutical companies have organized lobbyists to target ephedra because it was cutting into their sales for weight loss drugs and asthma drugs (bronchodilators). Others believe ephedra is not dangerous, but simply got some bad press as a result of a handful of people who intentionally misused ephedra or a synthetic replication of the isolated part of ephedra (ephedrine). Ephedra activists insist that human nature simply cannot be regulated and no one can control how people use (or abuse) any supplement, herb, or drug. How can you protect customers who ignore warning labels or double their doses?

The FDA inflicted a ban on ephedra in late 2003 (which became effective in early 2004), declaring an "unreasonable risk." This decision was based on public comments, literature review, adverse event reports and scientific studies. Dieters were devastated, feeling that their right to safely and appropriately use this herb had been stripped from them.

Why Was the Ban Lifted?

After the conclusion of several court cases (including some high-profile cases), the FDA stated in its final ruling that only five deaths were attributed solely and directly to ephedra. Keep in mind, according to the American Herbal Products Association, approximately 12 to 17 million people consumed ephedra during 1999. Ephedra sales in 2002 were close to $1.3 billion. What you may not know is that in 1994, over 100,000 people died due to adverse reactions or overconsumption of prescription drugs.

Is Ephedra Safe to Use?

According to the FDA, ephedra is safe for human consumption when it is taken in the recommended dosages, and when all warning labels are strictly observed. Obviously, women who are pregnant or nursing, and people with certain diseases (such as high blood pressure) should NOT consume ephedra or ephedrine. It is advised that you check with your physician before taking ephedra.

Where Can You Get Ephedra?

Currently, one company claims to be the only U.S. supplier of ephedra for weight loss. You can purchase ephedra online at www.BetaFuelDirect.com

Amy S. Grant is an avid fitness enthusiast who enjoys SCUBA diving, photography, and empowering people to achieve their goals.


MORE RESOURCES:

An Inspirational Guide to Weight Loss
Beliefnet
I'm not a doctor, fitness expert or weight loss expert. I'm just a 52-year-old guy working hard to shed some extra pounds. This nine-month battle of the bulge has helped me get in touch with my body to see what it needs and what it doesn't need to lose ...



CNN

Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg swap weight-loss stories
CNN
(CNN) -- "The View" returned to TV on Monday with a new set, two new faces and a pair of returning hosts who've spent their time away focusing on their health. During the season premiere, the revamped "View" cast, which now includes Rosie Perez and ...
Rosie O'Donnell on her 53-pound weight loss: It's filled with 'emotional ...New York Daily News
Rosie O'Donnell says weight loss came with 'emotional turbulence'Los Angeles Times
Rosie O'Donnell talks about the downside of weight lossUSA TODAY
Hollywood Life -Daily Mail -Examiner.com
all 404 news articles »


UAB study examines skipping breakfast, weight loss
WKRC TV Cincinnati
Emily Dhurandhar, the study's lead author, said, “Now that we know the general recommendation of 'eat breakfast every day' has no differential impact on weight loss, we can move forward with studying other techniques for improved effectiveness. We ...



Weight loss on antipsychotics is possible: study
Reuters
The intervention resulted in a relatively modest weight loss, and did not depend on the type of medication, said Dr. Daniel J. Mueller, who has done research on ways to improve psychiatric drug treatment at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in ...

and more »


Overcoming: A weight loss journey
DVIDS (press release) (registration)
“I mean 80 pounds, that's just a massive number,” but Millwood saw the weight loss like he sees a lot of things in his life; find motivation in the small steps, the small victories. He didn't focus on the total weight loss, but the smaller goals of ...



CNN

From 'sumo wrestler' to distance runner
CNN
For others trying to lose weight, Kirimoto says don't forget to enjoy the journey you're on. "Make (exercise) an exciting adventure," he said. "Everyone is different. Consistency is the key to both weight loss and fitness. You may not see results ...

and more »


Doc Offers Glimpse Into Arena Pharma Weight-Loss Combination Therapy
TheStreet.com
BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The Areniacs -- my term of endearment for the retail-investor supporters of Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) -- have been burning up the Internet message boards for the past few days with talk of weight-loss results from a ...



Curves offers more than weight loss help
The Port Arthur News
When you go through your weight loss journey its like a roller coaster, you laugh, you cry, you support each other,” she said. Grant's weight loss journey is a success having lost 76 pounds and going from a size 24 to a size 14, she said. Henderson, of ...



Daily Mail

'Too many people have weight-loss surgery on the NHS': Woman who shed 10st ...
Daily Mail
But she lost the weight thanks to hard work- instead of tax-payer funded gastric bands or weight loss surgery, and she wants to help others realise they can lose the pounds this way too. Catherine said: 'I have completely changed my lifestyle and it ...

and more »


Reno Gazette Journal

Diet and exercise work hand-in-hand for weight loss
Reno Gazette Journal
Instead of trying to cut a large amount of calories from your diet or burn a large amount of calories in the gym, build a well-balanced diet and a reasonable exercise plan to create the caloric deficit necessary for healthy weight loss. (Photo ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.