Ephedrine for Weight Loss

Ephedrine and Dieting
Lately, the diet product market has been flooded with pills that make all sorts of wild claims about ephedrine. Some go so far as to call the chemical stimulant an herbal alternative to "Phen-Fen." It has also been touted for use as an energy booster or muscle mass builder. However, as recently as a year ago, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposal calling for these diet product manufacturers to include a warning to their customers about the dangers of high doses of ephedrine.

The Dangers of Using Ephedrine
Powerful enough to be sought out by recreational drug users, ephedrine is a stimulant whose effects are comparable to amphetamines (better known as speed). The drug is often derived from plants and works on both the nervous system and the heart. Its effects are strong enough to even induce seizures in certain people.

As for those diet supplements, the FDA is concerned that consumers will buy the products hoping to achieve quick results. This becomes a problem in terms of overdoing it, since both higher levels of dosing, as well as long-term use of ephedrine have been associated with increased risk of adverse effects. After all, a person's natural impulse is to take higher doses of the drug in order to achieve larger, more powerful effects. The FDA wants warnings on all ephedrine-containing products, advising consumers not to exceed the recommended dose, and to use the product for no more than seven consecutive days.

Additionally, combining ephedrine's effects on the body with those of caffeine can really be dangerous, since the two drugs together are an extremely potent combination - this is definitely worrisome for the college crowd, where caffeine is often a way of life. In short, the diet pills are essentially a stimulant, much like the caffeine weight loss pills of old.

Ephedrine's Medical Uses
Ephedrine and its chemically related cousin, pseudoephedrine, however, are used for legitimate medical purposes, especially for treating colds and other breathing disorders. Ever felt like you were breathing rapidly or that you had just consumed too much caffeine after taking some over the counter cold preparation? Chances are, that was the ephedrine-like compound kicking in. At these low doses, that stimulated feeling is about the worst of it for most people. However, these drugs all come with warnings advising anyone with high blood pressure, glaucoma, or heart or who is taking certain types of antidepressants (MAO inhibitors), against using the medications. Ephedrine is also not recommended for use in children under 12, pregnant women, or the elderly.

The Bottom Line
Whatever weight loss may be attributed to this kind of diet pill - if any at all - is only going to be short term. As it has been said time and time again, the only safe and effective way to achieve permanent weight loss is through healthy eating and regular exercise.

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