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:

DailyFinance

Bogus Weight-Loss Claims Leads to $9 Million in Fines
DailyFinance
Duncan touted the weight-loss benefits of green coffee bean extract through appearances on "The Dr. Oz Show," "The View" and other TV programs. Duncan used his "Dr. Oz" appearance in his marketing campaign after the show aired, the complaint stated.
Weight loss supplement misled consumers, FTC warnsThe Hill
US bans deceptive ads by green coffee weight-loss marketerReuters
Marketers Of Green Coffee Bean Weight-Loss Products Must Refund $9MThe Consumerist
Patch.com
all 26 news articles »


Hollywood Life

Zach Galifianaki Unrecognizable At SAG Awards After Huge Weight Loss
Hollywood Life
We first noticed Zach's weight loss back in October at the premiere of Birdman. At the time, he was still sporting his typical scruffy look, a full-on beard and curly locks. But it was in May of 2013 when he first opened up about why he decided to shed ...
Zach Galifianakis, is that you? Actor changes look with weight loss, shaveLos Angeles Times
Zach Galifianakis shows off dramatic weight loss at SAG AwardsToday.com
Zach Galifianakis Shocks With Dramatic Weight Loss, No BeardABC News
In Touch Weekly -Examiner.com
all 2,203 news articles »


Tampabay.com

TGH/USF program turns weight loss into a team sport for former NFL heavyweights
Tampabay.com
It was team-oriented care that drew him to participate in a six-month weight-loss program designed for guys like Harrell, who piled on pounds after retiring from professional football. The pilot program, run by two Tampa physicians, helped him drop 30 ...
A new weight loss program by TGH and USF Health is helping former NFL ...ABC Action News

all 4 news articles »


RadarOnline

The Secret Smoothie Ingredient For Weight Loss
RadarOnline
When you lose weight, your body often sheds lean tissue along with fat. But holding on to muscle mass as you get slimmer is crucial to keeping your metabolism from taking a nosedive. The solution: Whey protein can help you lose weight while increasing ...



Fredericksburg.com

Spotsylvania weight-loss program draws 425 participants
Fredericksburg.com
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center kicked off its third annual “Lose Big/Win Big” weight-loss challenge Thursday night. More than 350 people pre-registered for the 15-week-long program in which they compete with their habits and their neighbors' for ...



Philadelphia Magazine (blog)

The Checkup: Is THIS the Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss?
Philadelphia Magazine (blog)
We've been on the early-morning workout bandwagon for a while now, and if you're looking to slim down, you should probably hop on board, too: Looks like the early morning might be the best time of day to exercise for weight loss. [The New York Times] ...



Beware of weight-loss shortcuts
Boston Globe
Admit it: When it comes to weight loss, we all want a shortcut, anything easier than good old-fashioned diet and exercise. And thanks to medical advances, lots of tempting new options are available. You may have heard about the new prescription ...



Yahoo Health

8 Best Fats for Weight Loss
Yahoo Health
To lift the fog from the fats—and set you on the path to quick weight loss—I've created this essential countdown compliments of my new book, Zero Belly Diet, ranking oils by their most important quality: their “fat profile.” These oils have the ...



Newly Approved Weight Loss Method Works by Tricking Your Brain
Motley Fool
The FDA's approval limits the treatment to only adults aged 18 or over who weren't able to lose weight through another weight loss program. You can't be just a little overweight, either. Only severely obese individuals with a body mass index of 35 to ...

and more »


What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery
WCVB Boston
You're watching TV and a photo of an extremely overweight person appears on the screen. A voiceover explains that this person has since had weight loss surgery and … here they are, less than a year later and more than 100 pounds lighter! But this ...
5 Surprising Benefits of Weight Loss SurgeryVirtual Press Office (press release)

all 4 news articles »

Google News


Advertisement



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

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.