Ephedrine is one of known synthetic chemicals that are used in a lot of different brands of diet pills. Because it can’t speed up the metabolism just like caffeine, these two ingredients are often put together to help get better result. However, it should be noted that taking ephedrine for weight loss has long been a contentious issue. This is because by doing so it can cause a wide array of unwanted side effects although it helps shed pounds quickly.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are alkaloids and the main ingredient of an herb called Ephedra sinica, which is a natural frequently used in Traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of colds and flu since it can induce sweating. This is why the synthetic version of ephedrine is often found in many decongestants and cold medicine too. Modern pharmacological studies have shown that ephedrine is able to excite the brain and heart and cause relaxation of the bronchial smooth muscle. However, the studies also warned that long-term abuse of it could lead to euphoria and addiction.
Diet pills work in a number of different ways. When it comes to ephedra diet pills, they mainly achieve this goal by suppressing appetite. This is because this chemical can act on the part of the hypothalamus, which can inform your brain when you feel full after eating some food. At the same time, another less known role of ephedrine is that it can accelerate the heartbeat. As a result, the rise of heart rate and blood pressure can prompt the body to consume more calories and then help lose weight.
A related experiment was ever conducted to compare the effects of caffeine and ephedrine. And the researcher found that their combination was far better at keeping the pounds off although it would cause some adverse reactions like insomnia, dizziness and trembling. However, the mentioned symptoms would be gone naturally in a few weeks. Unfortunately, they also noticed that although this was a quick way to drop pounds the result was only temporary once the participants stopped consuming it. Recently, commissioned by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration a research firm surveyed and found that ephedrine is not suitable for long-term use since it is likely to cause heart disease, stroke, some chronic diseases, and even death.
But there are also lots of dissenters whose studies show that taking some ephedrine-containing products should be safe if only the people is just overweight but without other apparent health problems. Dr. Carol N. Boozer, the Energy Metabolism Laboratory Director of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, ever guided 167 overweight people to participate the same weight loss program, including proper exercise and a reduction in dietary fat content, etc. In addition, half of the participants also took the specially formulated diet pills containing ephedrine or caffeine while the other half took the placebo. The results show that there is no significant difference on the heart function of these dieters, but a big difference on burning fat: the group receiving the placebo shed about 6 pounds while the group receiving the experimental drug about 12 pounds.
Since using ephedrine for weight loss has caused considerable controversy, further research is needed to understand the effect and safety of this alkaloid. In other words, following a healthy diet and exercising regularly are still the best way to lose weight although an ephedrine/caffeine compound can promote quick, temporary weight control, let alone it may cause some severe health problems like high blood pressure, glaucoma and heart attack.